A federal judge ruled Monday evening that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee could indeed proceed with a lawsuit against the Justice Department to access certain Fast and Furious documents.
Attorney General Eric Holder had attempted to dismiss the suit. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned aside that request, asserting the House claim: President Obama could not claim executive privilege and halt certain “Operation Fast and Furious” records from being turned over to Congress for review, Politico reported.
The decision came via a 44-page ruling.
It read, in part: “This case presents the sort of question that the courts are traditionally called upon to resolve. Dismissing the case without hearing it would in effect place the court’s finger on the scale, designating the executive as the victor based solely on his untested assertion that the privilege applies.”
The Justice Department only said in response that officials were reviewing the ruling, Politico reported.
The legal brouhaha came on the heels of Mr. Holder’s refusal to provide all the documentation sought by House members regarding the Justice Department’s responses to Fast and Furious. Fast and Furious was an undercover operation aimed at rooting out illegal gun trafficking operations along the Mexican border.
A congressional investigation found that the operation may have led to 2,000 weapons being placed in the hands of drug dealers and kingpins, absent proper federal oversight. And some of the weapons have since shown up in the hands of criminals — and have been involved in the fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Mr. Terry’s family has since sued the federal government over the incident.