U.S. District Court Judge John Bates agreed with House Democrats today and ruled that senior Bush administration officials are not immune from congressional subpoenas. Judge Bates, who was appointed by President Bush in 2001 and tapped by Chief Justice John Roberts to sit on the clandestine FISA court, is clearly no liberal. Still, he recognized the importance of congressional oversight in our system of checks and balances. In his decision he wrote, “The Executive’s current claim of absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law.”

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said in statement today that today’s decision “is a victory for our constitutional system of checks and balances.” She continued, “Judge Bates’ ruling was a necessary rebuke to this administration, which has bent, twisted and ignored the law in an effort to assert unfettered executive privilege and power. Alliance for Justice applauds today’s decision for placing constitutional prerogatives ahead of partisan politics.”