Friday, January 10, 2003

Damn, E.J. Dionne is waking up

Or consider the ruling of Judge John D. Bates in December declaring that Congress's General Accounting Office -- and thus the public -- had no right to learn the specifics about meetings between Vice President Cheney's famous energy task force and various energy executives and lobbyists. The same John Bates, an appointee of the current president, was an attorney for Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation and pushed hard (and successfully) for the release of various White House documents related to Hillary Rodham Clinton's activities.

"When that guy was working for Ken Starr, he wanted to go open the dresser drawers of the White House," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. "I guess it's a lot different when it's a Republican vice president." Such suspicions of partisanship in the judiciary are corrosive because, unfortunately, they are now plausible.