A federal judge delivered a severe tongue-lashing to a Justice Department lawyer Thursday, slamming the Obama Administration for its handling of demands for government records in the libel lawsuit fired Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod filed against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.Release the email! We here in Wisconsin are deluged with internal emails relating to Scott Walker. Freedom of information is a bitch.
During a 40-minute hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon repeatedly ripped into the government and DOJ trial counsel David Glass for resisting requests from both sides in the case for government files and e-mails that might be of use in the litigation....
At the outset of Thursday's hearing, Leon lit into Glass for filing a 21-page statement outlining the government's position—a filing submitted electronically just after midnight Thursday along with a stack of nine exhibits. The judge called it "a self-serving pleading, not requested by anyone" and repeatedly suggested it was filed for "public relations" reasons rather than because it might be useful to the court....Leon, by the way, is the judge who ruled last December that the NSA surveillance program is a likely violation of the 4th Amendment, saying "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen...." He's a George W. Bush appointee and a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas.
"This is not a typical case.....This case involves someone who was fired by a cabinet officer....The government is not going to be able to slow roll this case," the judge insisted.
"Slow roll" is an intriguing expression to hear from a judge. It seems to originate in poker and to refer to some annoying taunting approaches to revealing your winning hand.
ADDED: Instapundit says:
I believe I said when this suit was filed that the discovery was likely to be interesting. If DOJ is stonewalling, it must be.David Lat, quoting the government's memo, says:
The government is willing to produce the evidence that is directly relevant to matters actually at issue in the litigation. But as a non-party, it doesn’t want to get dragged into this mess more than necessary....
Eighty-three categories of document requests, plus a raft of deposition subpoenas, issued to a third party? This sounds a bit like a fishing expedition to me.