A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the White House by not compelling former White House attorney Don McGahn to testify before Congress. It was a huge win for the President who has been blocking his former confidant from testifying in the House’s Russian collusion investigation.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that McGahn could not be protected by the White House from a subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee and its Chair, Jerry Nadler. But there’s a caveat that is appropriate as the court did not agree with DoJ attorney’s and the White House’s contention that McGahn and other officials enjoy “absolute immunity” from Congressional subpoenas. Instead, the court ruled based on the DoJ’s argument that the judiciary branch should not get involved in these sorts of issues between the other two branches.
THIS is why Democrats were so afraid of using the judicial system to pursue answers in their sham impeachment inquisition: because they knew they stood a good chance of LOSING their case.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 28, 2020
It’s a win in both regards for America. It’s ludicrous to believe a Congressional investigation of any sort can be derailed because the White House is not obligated to cooperate under any circumstances due to “absolute immunity.” This would weaken Capitol Hill’s ability to perform their oversight responsibilities. But it’s equally true that the judicial branch must not become the referee between the other two branches.
Historically, Congressional subpoenas have been subject to negotiation between Capitol Hill and the White House. This is as it should be. Members of Congress should have to work through their investigations instead of running to the court every time they want to talk to a White House official. Conversely, the White House should not enjoy this degree of immunity which would essentially make it to where Congress can never ask a question.
Congress and the White House each have leverage over the other. That’s how the Constitution was written. It’s a process that allows them to be checks and balances against each other. The judiciary is supposed to be the weakest of the three branches, but in recent decades judicial supremacy has become a blight that prevents both forward progress as well as thoughtful negotiation between the other two branches. The judiciary is intended to rule on Constitutionality, not political expediency one way or the other.
The Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn the decision, leaving Don McGahn in the clear. Perhaps now we can move on from the Russia debacle and focus on fixing the issues that are plaguing this nation.