Karl Rove, Barack Obama and Presidential Power

If it were a lawsuit, it might be called Obama v.

If it were a lawsuit, it might be called Obama v. Bush, Rove, et al., and it would be billed as a major case on Executive Privilege. Though the legal arguments would be arcane, the underlying issue would be -- and already is -- filled with political intrigue about who did what to fire whom back in 2006 at the Justice Dept. Supreme Court or no, the issue puts Obama in a legal and political pickle. He'd rather move ahead and beyond the Bush years and aging Justice Department scandals that have nothing to do with him, but he has to take a position, and what he decides could affect his and future administration for years to come.

Obama must soon decide whether to support President Bush's claim of executive privilege in shielding his powerful political adviser Karl Rove from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats want to question him on the extent of White House involvement in the 2006 firing of nine U.S. attorneys, allegedly for political reasons because of the cases they were or were not pursuing. The scandal led to a shake-up at Justice and was considered one of the primary reasons behind the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in August 2007.

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Richard Sammon
Senior Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter