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Judicial Watch • Stay Order: JW v. DOJ (Fast and Furious Documents)

Stay Order: JW v. DOJ (Fast and Furious Documents)

Stay Order: JW v. DOJ (Fast and Furious Documents)

Page 1: Stay Order: JW v. DOJ (Fast and Furious Documents)

Category:Legal Document

Number of Pages:4

Date Created:February 15, 2013

Date Uploaded to the Library:September 17, 2013

Tags:Obama, DOJ, EPA, IRS, ICE, CIA

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Case 1:12-cv-01510-JDB Document Filed 02/15/13 Page
Civil Action No. 12-1510 (JDB)
The Department Justice has moved stay this Freedom Information Act (FOIA)
case concerning Operation Fast and Furious documents pending further developments the
litigation concerning the underlying subpoena. the interest judicial economy, the Court will
grant the stay. October 11, 2011, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued
subpoena the Attorney General seeking documents connection with congressional
investigation into Bureau Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation known
Operation Fast and Furious. response the subpoena, President Barack Obama invoked
executive privilege. Plaintiff Judicial Watch promptly made FOIA request for all records
subject that claim executive privilege, which the Department Justice then denied.
September 13, 2012, Judicial Watch filed this suit challenging the denial. The requested
documents are also the subject litigation earlier-filed suit before different judge this
Court. See Comm. Oversight Gov Reform, U.S. House Representatives Holder, No.
12-1332 (D.D.C. Aug. 13, 2012) House Committee that action, the House Committee
seeks enforce its subpoena and challenge the President assertion executive privilege.
Case 1:12-cv-01510-JDB Document Filed 02/15/13 Page
The Attorney General has moved dismiss the Committee lawsuit for lack jurisdiction, the
motion has been fully briefed, and argument now scheduled for April 24, 2013.
 [T]he power stay proceedings incidental the power inherent every court
control the disposition the causes its docket with economy time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants. Landis Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936); see also Clinton
Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997) The District Court has broad discretion stay proceedings incident its power control its own docket. stay may granted pending the
resolution another suit with different parties. See Landis, 299 U.S. 255 (rejecting rule that
 there power stay compel unwilling litigant wait upon the outcome
controversy which stranger this case, the Department Justice has represented that negotiation and
accommodation process ongoing between the Executive and Legislative Branches over these
documents, which may ultimately result the release additional records currently withheld the grounds executive privilege. Def. Mot. Stay [Docket Entry 15] (Jan. 11,
2013); see also Notice [Docket Entry 17] (Jan. 30, 2013) settlement talks between the
parties House Committee are progressing Because some the disputed documents might released, thereby narrowing the scope this litigation, staying the case desirable
conserve the parties and the Court resources. See Landis, 299 U.S. 254. Moreover, rushing resolve the question this case, where the House Committee not party, risks interfering
with the political branches efforts resolve the subpoena dispute. See United States ATT
Co., 567 F.2d 121, 130 (D.C. Cir. 1977) The Constitution contemplates such accommodation.
Negotiation between the two branches should thus viewed dynamic process affirmatively
furthering the constitutional scheme.
Case 1:12-cv-01510-JDB Document Filed 02/15/13 Page
Finally, this suit might well require the Court pass the merits the application
executive privilege the subpoenaed documents. See generally Judicial Watch, Inc. DOJ, 365
F.3d 1108 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (holding that, some circumstances, executive and presidential
communications privileges protect documents from disclosure under FOIA). the House
Committee court denies the motion dismiss and reaches the question the application
executive privilege, that decision may relevant the merits the FOIA dispute. See
Stonehill IRS, 534 Supp. (D.D.C. 2008) (relying direct holding the
application [the] privileges prior proceeding evaluating scope FOIA exemption). contrast, simultaneous resolution the same invocation privilege two judges this
Court undesirable from judicial efficiency perspective. And may against the interests
comity, especially given that House Committee the earlier-filed suit and the competing
branches government are present that litigation. This state affairs favors proceeding with
caution until the likelihood settlement between the political branches and the likelihood
relevant decision the House Committee suit become clearer.
What more, Judicial Watch has offered reason that delay would present hardship. sure, has right request the information sought. But stay does not deny that right,
simply delays temporarily adjudication the right, and Judicial Watch has given reason
that its (or the public need for the information especially urgent. See Jones, 520 U.S. 707 especially cases extraordinary public moment, plaintiff may required submit
delay not immoderate extent and not oppressive its consequences the public welfare
convenience will thereby promoted (alterations and internal quotation marks omitted)).
Judicial Watch expresses concern that the underlying litigation, which raises weighty
questions about the political question doctrine, might subject lengthy appeals, leading
Case 1:12-cv-01510-JDB Document Filed 02/15/13 Page
indefinite stay. See also Belize Soc. Dev. Ltd. Gov Belize, 668 F.3d 724, 732 (D.C. Cir.
2012) (an indefinite stay require[s] finding pressing need But the Department does not
seek, and the Court will not award, indefinite stay pending ultimate resolution the House
Committee litigation. Indeed, the parties are unable reach settlement and the House
Committee court finds that lacks jurisdiction reach the merits, the benefits delaying this
case might well too attenuated justify any further stay. the present circumstances, however, brief stay appropriate allow ongoing
settlement discussions and, full settlement not reached, let the House Committee court
rule the motion dismiss issue the April 24, 2013, hearing.
For the foregoing reasons hereby
ORDERED that this action STAYED pending further developments House
Committee, No. 12-1332 (D.D.C. Aug. 13, 2012); and further
ORDERED that the parties shall file status report with the Court within fourteen days either decision the pending motion dismiss House Committee any settlement
that case, but any event not later than June 2013, which time the Court will assess
whether any further stay appropriate. ORDERED.
United States District Judge
Dated: February 15, 2013