Valerie Plame Again Gets Hosed: This Time by a Bush/Starr Judge

The dismissal of
Valerie Plame’s lawsuit is an absolute travesty of justice, and it’s an example
of a new trend right wing have begun to use, which I’ll discuss later on in my


DC District Court
Judge John D Bates, first of all, is a Bush appointee, an obvious reward for
his work as pornographer Ken Starr’s deputy on the "Whitewater"
investigation for two years. He was also appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to
the FISA court — you know, the one Bush bypassed so that he could do his
spying in secret. But you know; I always live in hope that even a right wing
jurist can put aside his partisanship and rule based on the law.


I’m beginning to lose


This is the basic
reason Judge Bates
gave for granting the dismissal:


the reasons explained below, the Court finds that, under controlling Supreme
Court precedent,
special factors — particularly the remedial scheme established by Congress in
the Privacy
Act — counsel against the recognition of an implied damages remedy for
plaintiffs’ constitutional
claims. The Court also finds that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the
tort claim
because plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies under the
Federal Tort Claims
Act, which is the proper, and exclusive, avenue for relief on such a claim.


Essentially, what
Judge Bates (no jokes about his name, now) is saying is that the Bushies who
leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the press, were acting within the scope of the
duties of their job. Yes, folks, you read that right; because national security
and intelligence is within the scope of the duties of the people working in the
White House, they are immune from liability, according to this twit. (Go ahead,
now you can call him "master"; you know you want to.)


The job of the people
in the White House is to protect national security, and to protect those men
and women working on national service matters for this country. That is their


Now, if a doctor
operates on the wrong arm, or a lawyer screws up a case, they can be sued into
the next life. But for some reason, a bunch of politicians can disclose
classified information at will, and according to this judge, there is nothing
anyone can do about it, because they have discretion, as part of their job, to
do what they want with regard to national security.


But we’re not talking
about acting within the scope of their job. We’re talking about working OUTSIDE
the scope of their job. We’re talking about undermining the very country whose
Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. That is the government equivalent
to a worker for a large corporation giving away corporate secrets to a rival.
If there was a case before Bates in which a worker for AT&T was handing
proprietary information over to Verizon, I wonder if Bates would then say it’s
"within the scope of their employment?" Bates tries to make that
stupid claim by citing the Federal Tort Claims Act, but this is a load of crap.
The purpose of the FCTA is to protect federal employees from liability for
discretionary functions. Specifically, the FCTA bars claims "based upon
the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a
discretionary function or duty on the part of a federal agency or an employee
of the Government, whether or not the discretion involved be abused." (28
U.S.C. S 2680(a).


The problem is, the
actions cited in the Wilsons’ complaint is not based upon either the exercise
or failure to exercise a discretionary function. What they did to the Wilsons
was a politically charged smear campaign, and they purposely outed a covert CIA
agent, and compromised an operation into finding WMDs in Iran. What did the
Bushies either do, or fail to do, in this case, that was part of their
"discretionary function"? Is outing covert agents part of their job
description? No, not really. So, what discretionary function did they fail to
do. Nothing, of course. By purposely outing the agent, it can’t be said that
they didn’t protect her. For Chrissakes, how far do you go with that avoidance
of responsibility? That’s a hell of a defense for a lot of criminals, isn’t it?
"Oh, well officer, you can’t arrest me, because I’m her husband, and by
shooting her, I simply failed to protect her…"


Face it; Judge Bates
is making stuff up, because he’s desperate to protect his buddies in the Bush
Administration. There’s no other explanation.


There’s another aspect
of this that bothers the hell out of me.


Have you noticed that
right wing judges, especially the Bush appointees, are increasingly choosing
not to rule in cases, but are instead denying standing to those who bring suit.
In this case, Bates’ opinion contains all sorts of clues about how he would
have ruled had the case gone forward; there is a significant bias in the way he
lays out the case. But he lacks the courage of his convictions, as well as the
courage to allow a jury to hear the case and decide for themselves. So, instead
of a ruling, he simply dismisses the case and claims a lack of standing.


This happened another
time, in the case recently before the Sixth Circuit, that made the absurd claim
that those who were likely being spied upon secretly by the federal government,
can’t have standing to sue, because they can’t prove
the government spied on them. Even though the government itself said it did.


This is the trend,
folks. These idiots don’t have the courage of their convictions, so instead of
ruling on difficult subjects (I mean, who wants to be the judge who ruled
against the CIA agent that was purposely outed by the Vice President, right?
And who in their right mind would want to be the judge who ruled that of course
the president has the power to conduct a secret domestic spying program. True
to form, Bush has chosen for the bench a bunch of cowards, just like him.


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