Just a reminder: In the name of imposing restrictions on “assault weapons” here in the U.S., the Justice Department of the United States gave aid and comfort to the Mexican drug cartels by illegally sending thousands of rifles across the border, resulting in hundreds of deaths in Mexico and the United States.
We have not forgotten that, and neither has Congress.
A U.S. Justice Department lawyer said on Wednesday that if a judge agreed to consider a Republican bid to get administration documents related to a botched operation against gun-trafficking it would prompt a flood of requests for courts to referee Washington political disputes.
President Barack Obama is resisting a congressional subpoena for documents related to how the administration responded to the revelation of the failed operation known as “Fast and Furious” on the U.S.- Mexican border. It has already turned over thousands of pages of documents about the operation itself.
Justice Department lawyer Ian Gershengorn told a hearing the matter was best left to the give-and-take of the U.S. government’s two elected branches, the president and Congress, and should not be a matter for the courts.
“That is how it has worked for 225 years,” said Gershengorn, referring to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was skeptical and told Gershengorn, “There are three branches here, not just two.” She did not say how she would rule, but questioned Gershengorn for more than twice as long as she did House of Representatives lawyer Kerry Kircher.
Kircher told Jackson that if she did not intervene, presidents could withhold documents from Congress at will with no consequence and thwart oversight of government agencies.
The fear about more subpoena cases is overblown, he added. “You will not be flooded by lawsuits,” Kircher said.
Both sides agree that the question of whether Jackson will step in goes to the heart of how the U.S. president and Congress interact with each other.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Ego custodire custodes. (Who are they who watch the watchmen? I myself.)
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