OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a conservative group’s efforts to depose former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her controversial use of a private email server.
Judicial Watch was asking the court to force Clinton to be deposed to discuss her emails under oath, saying in a statement when the petition was filed the court “should cast politics aside and affirm that Hillary Clinton is not above the law.”
The Supreme Court decided to leave in place a lower court ruling blocking the deposition.
In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel that said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.
Judicial Watch had sought to depose Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills over Clinton’s use of a personal email server in connection to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
As Judicial Watch argues in its cert petition, granting Clinton this extraordinary relief flies in the face of the D.C. Circuit’s own precedent, most recently in the Michael Flynn case, who, unlike Clinton, was denied mandamus relief.
Judicial Watch argued that the appellate decision allowing Clinton to avoid testimony dramatically undermines the Freedom of Information Act:
In effect, it eliminates any discovery into the actions of agency officials or employees other than FOIA officers – walling off from any inquiry officials or employees who may be less than honest with FOIA officers or who might seek to conceal agency records from FOIA officers to prevent disclosure to the public, among other matters plainly relevant to an agency’s good faith in responding to FOIA requests.
It is especially important that this misapplication of longstanding precedent be corrected because the D.C. Circuit’s far-reaching decision will nullify the “citizens’ right to be informed about ‘what their government is up to’” and for all intents and purposes, it will eradicate the district courts’ role as the enforcement arm of FOIA, as Congress intended.
“No court should undermine the Freedom of Information Act and the rule of law by giving Hillary Clinton special protection from having to testify about her emails,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Supreme Court should cast politics aside and affirm that Hillary Clinton is not above the law.”
But the Supreme Court sided with Clinton and rejected the order requesting that she testify under oath about her private email server.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued a statement in response to the court’s move.
“Hillary Clinton ignored the law but received special protection from both the courts and law enforcement,” he said. “For countless Americans, this double standard of justice has destroyed confidence in the fair administration of justice.”