On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected Barack Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to deny Congress access to records pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious. Fast and Furious was a gunrunning probe that allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to go across across the border into Mexico as reported by POLITICO.Jackson wrote:
There is no need to balance the need against the impact that the revelation of any record could have on candor in future executive decision making, since any harm that might flow from the public revelation of the deliberations at issue here has already been self-inflicted. The Department itself has already publicly revealed the sum and substance of the very material it is now seeking to withhold. Since any harm that would flow from the disclosures sought here would be merely incremental, the records must be produced.
Jackson also said she wasn’t questioning the propriety of Obama’s claim of privilege, but she was ruling that the claim could not be sustained in view of other information the Justice Department has released on the topic.
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The administration wanted Jackson to throw out the case altogether. They argued the legislative and executive branches should use their own methods to sort out the dispute. However, in 2013 the judge ruled the fight was an appropriate one for the courts to resolve. She also rejected the administration’s efforts to appeal the case at the time.
This ruling is not predicated on a finding that the withholding was intended to cloak wrongdoing on the part of government officials or that the withholding itself was improper.
In regards to the current ruling, the administration could appeal the ruling. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he had no immediate comment if they will.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency was “reviewing the decision.”