Bush Administration Fights for Secrecy in the High Court

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments from the solicitor general and from former Public Citizen Litigation Group director Alan Morrison - representing the Sierra Club - on VP Dick Cheney's refusal to release records involving the energy task force that formulated the Bush administration's energy policy. The government's lawyer argued that because of separation of powers, Cheney shouldn't have to disclose details of the secret meetings with industry executives and lobbyists. The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, a conservative group also suing for disclosure, argued that the public has a right to know who influenced energy policy. Morrison contends that task force participants were members of an official advisory committee, and that federal law requires disclosure of such committees' makeup and activities. The resulting energy policy is laden with tax breaks, subsidies and regulatory relief for energy companies.

Justice Antonin Scalia's questions at the hearing were widely interpreted to indicate that he was on the side of non-disclosure. Scalia's presence was controversial because of a January duck-hunting trip he and Cheney took together.

Read coverage of the hearing in the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today - and a piece by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.