D.C. Circuit Ruling on House Subpoena and Executive Privilege
A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to force former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify in a congressional investigation. Brent Kendall reports for the WSJ:
A divided federal appeals court took a hands-off approach to a subpoena battle between Congress and the White House, ruling it wasn’t the judiciary’s place to decide whether former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify in a congressional investigation of President Trump.
“Letting political fights play out in the political branches might seem messy or impractical, but democracy can be a messy business, and federal courts are ill-equipped to micromanage sprawling and evolving interbranch information disputes,” Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The decision came on a 2-to-1 vote. The ruling comes amid an array of ongoing clashes between the White House and House Democrats leading an array of investigations into the Trump administration. It could set a new marker suggesting the courts won’t be willing to resolve those showdowns, at least in some circumstances.
Personally, I doubt that a divided panel decision will be the last word on a dispute of this magnitude. Stay tuned.