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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In re Cheney

The DC Courts of Appeals issued a ruling today on remand from the Supreme Court's decision in Cheney v. U.S. Dist. Court,124 S. Ct. 2576 (2004). People may remember this case as the one which caused significant controversy over the participation of Justice Scalia, who had gone duck-hunting with Vice President Cheney.

In a unanimous ruling written by Judge Randolph, the Court dismissed the claims of the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch that The Energy Task Force headed up by the Veep was subject to the disclosure requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Judge Randolph wrote:
In light of the severe separation-of-powers problems in applying FACA on the basis that private parties participated in, or influenced, or were otherwise involved with a committee in the Executive Office of the President, we must construe the statute strictly. We therefore hold that such a committee is composed wholly of federal officials if the President has given no one other than a federal official a vote in or, if the committee acts by consensus, a veto over the committee's decisions.
The Court went on to hold that, because of this interpretation of FACA, the petitioners had failed to make out a case as to why the federal government owed them any duty, let alone a clear and indisputable duty, and as such, a writ of mandamus should not issue.

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