U.S. court dismisses Cheney energy task force case
Tue May 10, 2005 2:56 PM ET


(Gold9472: This is such BULLSHIT!)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit that sought details about Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 energy policy task force that critics say secretly formed policy favorable to the industry.

The unanimous ruling ordered a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit by the Sierra Club environmental group and the watchdog group Judicial Watch that sought to learn about contacts between task force members and industry executives.

"We hold that plaintiffs have failed to establish any duty, let alone a clear and indisputable duty, owed to them by the federal government" under the law in question, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote in the 13-page ruling.

All eight judges on the appeals court sided with the Bush administration and agreed the lawsuit must be dismissed.

"In making decisions on personnel and policy, the president must be free to seek confidential information from many sources, both inside the government and outside," Randolph said.

He said the president may form a committee composed of only federal employees. The internal communications of such a group will remain confidential so long as the right to vote or a veto is not later given to nongovernmental employees, he said.

Randolph said the energy task force met that requirement. He said a government official emphasized that no outsiders took part in any of the meetings and there was no evidence any outside individuals had a vote or a veto over the group's decisions.

The dismissal of the case had been expected after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June last year that refused to require that task force records be disclosed. It sent the case back to the appeals court.

The justices set aside an earlier ruling by the appeals court that Cheney, a former energy industry executive, must comply with a federal judge's order to produce the internal White House documents or give a detailed explanation of what was withheld and why.

The plaintiffs had argued that Cheney, the former chief executive of energy and construction company Halliburton Co., drafted a policy that favored the industry by consulting energy industry executives.

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