Those other officials include Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Richard Armitage.
Wilson v. Libby, Civil No. 06-1258, Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Supportof Defendant Vice President of the United States Richard B. Cheney’s Motion to Dismiss(Document No. 21), p. 23.
The first draft of the Constitution presented to the Constitutional Convention in 1787did not even include an office of the vice president. In fact, the framers created the vicepresidency as a means to resolve issues regarding the functioning of the electoral college andselection of the president. Michael Nelson, A Heartbeat Away; Report of the Twentieth Century2Walter Pincus, Memo Exacerbates Defense CIA Strains; Clue on Al Qaeda-Hussein Ties atIssue,
The Washington Post
, November 20, 2003, A Section. On January 28, 2004, CREWcalled on President Bush to direct the White House Counsel to initiate an investigation into Mr.Cheney’s actions. President Bush has never responded to CREW’s request.Simply stated, Mr. Cheney has demonstrated on at least two occasions that he and his staff cannot be trusted with classified information. Clearly based on this record, exempting the vicepresident from procedures intended to safeguard classified information is not warranted and mayactually lead to further breaches of national security.These examples are part of a growing list of naked power grabs by Vice President Cheney, oftenarticulated under the guise of a litigation defense.
Wilson Litigation and the Quest for Absolute Immunity
Valerie and Joseph Wilson sued Vice President Cheney, among other top administrationofficials,
for his role in leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity as a covert CIA operative in retaliationfor Joseph Wilson publicly revealing a fundamental flaw in the administration’s rationale forgoing to war with Iraq. In response, Mr. Cheney argued that as vice president he was entitled toabsolute immunity from suit. According to Mr. Cheney, permitting the Wilsons’ lawsuit to goforward against him would involve the courts in the review of “core Executive functions . . .”
Apparently it suited Mr. Cheney to be part of the executive branch for purposes of mounting adefense to the Wilsons’ lawsuit.The fundamental problem with Mr. Cheney’s assertion of a right to absolute immunity -- whichto date has never been extended to the vice president -- is that Mr. Cheney does not occupy the“unique position in the constitutional scheme” that the Supreme Court has held warrantsaccording the president absolute immunity. Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731, 749 (1982).Unlike the president, the Constitution does not vest in the vice president “unique” and singular”duties that would make him the function equivalent of the president. Instead, the Constitutiongives the vice president two limited roles: (1) presiding over the Senate and breaking a tie inSenate votes (Art. I, § 3); and (2) succeeding the President (Art. II, § 1), or taking over as actingpresident under certain conditions (Amend. XXV, § 3, Amend. XXV, § 4).