14th March 17:23
Rule laid down for Bush-Cheney; "Be more open about decision making process"
Aw, that'll take all the fun out of playing President for Junior.
BILL MOYERS: We had a reminder this week in the role courts play in how democracy works and for whom. Faithful viewers of this program know that from our very first broadcast 18 months ago, we've been following the fight over the public's right to know which corporate executives and lobbyists helped Vice President Cheney write the administration's energy plan. The plan calls for opening public lands for oil and gas drilling, greater reliance on nuclear power and many other steps backed by industry.
The White House has fought tooth and nail to keep from disclosing exactly who came to advise them on this plan. This week the Federal Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia upheld a lower court's order that the Vice President release that information or give very good and detailed reasons why not. Larry Klayman is here to discuss the court's decision.
He's the founder and chairman of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that along with the Sierra Club, the big environmental organization, filed lawsuits demanding that Vice President Cheney release his records. Welcome back to NOW.
a.. Review Judicial Watch's Case
b.. Review the Federal Court of Appeals Ruling
KLAYMAN: Bill. Good to see you.
MOYERS: Why was this decision so important to you?
KLAYMAN: It's a huge decision, because it really sets a precedent. It lays a marker down for the Bush-Cheney administration that they have to be more open. That they don'tÖ they shouldn't practice this policy of secrecy. And in fact as a conservative organization that believes that the individual should have rights, that wants lesser government, the Bush administration should, being conservative as well, so it claims, welcome this decision.
Because you want the people to know what's going on. That's how you develop confidence. And the administration's gonna need that going forward, particularly over some of the uncertainty about the intelligence in the war of Iraq and things like that.
MOYERS: Exactly what did the court decide this week?
KLAYMAN: The court said, number one, that you can't take an appeal before the case is over. And the administration obviously knew that. They were just trying to delay things.
MOYERS: What do you mean? I don't understand that.
KLAYMAN: In other words, the Bush administration had already lost in this case about three or four times. They wereÖ
MOYERS: In the lower court?
KLAYMAN: In the lower court. And there were orders saying, "You have to produce these do***ents about how you formulated energy policy inside your task force at the White House." But despite those decisions, the Bush administration disobeyed those decisions and decided to go up to the higher court.
MOYERS: Will the White House take this to the Supreme Court?
KLAYMAN: They may try to do that. I think they'd be ill advised to do that. I think what they should do right now, Bill, is just to roll with the punch. And say, "Let's disclose the do***ents that aren't legitimately privileged. Let's come out with it right now."
And it's in their advantage to do that because of some of the questions that have arisen about whether or not the administration was being totally candid going into the war of Iraq. Let's have a new open policy. And I think it'll help the Republican party and help Bush if he does it.