Wednesday, September 15, 2004
An "impeccable" ruling by a jurist much admired in conservative circles jumped up and bit the president in the ass today as a federal judge bounced the Bush campaign's request for an injunction that would have prevented those shadowy, possibly even Democratic-leaning, advocacy groups from exercising their First Amendment rights:
A federal judge in Washington yesterday rejected a request from President Bush's campaign for an injunction against the Federal Election Commission that Bush attorneys hoped would ultimately halt the efforts of independent Democratic organizations working to defeat the president.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson said he agreed with Bush's attorneys that the FEC is "notoriously slow" in investigating and acting on complaints of political campaign violations, including the one the Bush camp lodged with the commission in March. But, the judge said, the law does not give him the power to act quickly against alleged violations of campaign law or demand that the FEC move more speedily . . . .
The Bush-Cheney campaign sued the FEC on Sept. 1 seeking an emergency court order. The suit accused the commission of failing to act on its March complaint and of allowing "irreparable harm" by not stopping the activities of advocacy groups that support Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry. Bush's attorneys said those groups, which include MoveOn.org, the Media Fund and America Coming Together, are engaged in "massive" and "ongoing" violations of election laws . . . .
Robertson, appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton, noted that he was rejecting the president's request based on "an impeccable decision by Judge Kenneth Starr . . . decided, figuratively speaking, when the shoe was on the other foot."
Starr was the federal appellate judge who ruled in 1985 that the court could not order the FEC to act more quickly on a Democratic congressman's complaint. Starr was later the independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica S. Lewinsky investigations of Clinton.