Judge John D. Bates U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, appointed to the federal bench in 2001 by President George W. Bush, has dismissed a lawsuit filed by outed non-official cover operative Valerie Plame against Bush Administration officials. In his 41-page opinion, Bates held that White House officials were acting within the scope of their duties in talking with the press about Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had exposed lies the Administration was using to justify the necessity for a pre-emptive war against Iraq.

The highly controversial judge has been a favorite of powerful Right-wing judges. Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed him to serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, and current U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts last year appointed him as a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Judge Bates has demonstrated extraordinary willingness to allow the Bush Administration to act in secrecy and without repercussions. Among his previous controversial decisions, Bates ruled that Congress had no standing to sue Vice President Richard V. Cheney in the matter of Cheney’s refusal to turn over the names of participants in a White House energy task force. For that and other decisions, Judge Bates has been strongly criticized for his transparent use of non-standard interpretation of the purpose and application of procedural law concerning standing of plaintiffs to advance a ‘separation of powers’ rationale for throwing out cases filed against the Bush Administration. In dismissing the lawsuit filed by Plame, he has once again used technical grounds to shield the White House and its personnel from facing consequences for their actions. The arc of these decisions is constructing a significant basis in common law for the so-called “unitary executive” doctrine by which a President of the United States is freed from oversight and punishment by Congress and the judiciary so that he or she may have wide, extra-legal latitude in decision-making and actions.

Judge Bates is listed as being on the “Judicial Faculty” of Pepperdine University, whose president is former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, best known for spending tens of millions of dollars of public money at the behest of congressional Republicans trying to find grounds to impeach then-President Bill Clinton. Starr was ultimately able to get an indictment against Clinton because the President had lied to a grand jury about being fellated by an intern. Rendering further evidence of his deep connections to Right-wing legal activism in the United States, Judge Bates served as Deputy Independent Counsel during the Whitewater investigation, another attempt in the 1990s by Republicans to damage or prematurely end the Clinton Presidency.

With the growing body of his decisions from the bench to protect Bush Administration officials from civil punishment for wrong-doing that harmed the national security of the country, and after having previously made his mark on the legal landscape aiding fellow Republicans trying to wreck a Democratic President of the United States, Judge John Bates has now clearly found a President and White House staff worthy of being held above the law.

Update, July 20, 2007, 9:40 EDT: Attorneys for Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson have stated that they will appeal the dismissal of the case by Judge Bates.


Crossposted from The Dark Wraith Forums

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