Sunday, August 05, 2007

An overlooked point this week

Former White House counsel in the Clinton administration, Beth Nolan, was cited by Dan Froomkin the other day for a statement she made recently on the limits on executive privilege. Hardly surprising, but she suggests that executive privilege is not as absolute in its reach as the Bush administration is portraying it:
Nolan explained: "We have little case law illuminating the contours of executive privilege, but what we do have makes one thing absolutely clear: the President's constitutional authority to assert executive privilege is not absolute, but is instead to be balanced against the legitimate needs of the coordinate branches of government in undertaking their constitutionally assigned responsibilities. The seminal Supreme Court case on executive privilege is, of course, United States v. Nixon, [a 1974 decision] in which the Court held that a privilege is a qualified one that may be outweighed by countervailing needs."
Something to keep in mind as this ongoing battle continues.