Executive Privilege Goes to Court
Ruling in lawmakers' challenge could cement power grab
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 9:48 PM CDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The civil suit brought by Congress as it investigates the 2005-06 firings of US attorneys is becoming a groundbreaking constitutional tussle that could decide the true scope of executive privilege. The precedent that could be set in the ruling from a US district court is now more significant than the truth behind the firings, Mother Jones reports.

If a judge decides Congress has no right to pursue in civil court contempt citations against two Bush administration officials, it will close that avenue permanently, essentially cementing the executive power grab. Things are muddier if there's a ruling: The White House could try to "run out the clock" by extending appeals past the current government's expiration date in January—leaving matters unresolved.