in a special saturday order, d.c. federal
district court judge colleen kollar-kotellly
has issued a preliminary injuction in CREW
v. Cheney, et al. -- running in favor
of CREW, to prevent the vice president's
offices from dumping any [more] records that
dick cheney unilaterally decides need not be pre-
served under his highly dubious narrowed-inter-
pretation of the presidential records act.
cheney had argued that he need only preserve
records he deemed central to duties directly
assigned him by the president in an official
capacity, or generated in an official capacity
in his (largely ceremonial) legislative role -- in
other words, almost no records, at all. . .
the able judge believes there is substantial
doubt about whether cheney's view is correct -- given
that the PRA was specifiaclly amended to deal
expressly with shenanigans attempted by dick
cheney's old boss at a former white house -- one
richard m. nixon -- (when dick was a welp), and to
definatively put an end to attempts made, on
nixon's behalf, to shield many of the records
of that ignoble presidency, from public view.
quoth judge kollar-kotellly:
. . .the Court is guided by the Supreme Court’s discussion of the purposes underlying the PRA’s enactment in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, as explained above. The PRA serves to “preserve [Presidential and Vice-Presidential] materials for legitimate historical and governmental purposes” and to ensure that future members of the executive branch can access historical records as necessary in carrying out their duties. 433 U.S. at 452-53. The PRA also serves the public interest by ensuring the “preservation of an accurate and complete historical record” by “trusted and disinterested professionals,” and thus enhances “the public confidence in our political processes.” Id. at 452-53 and n.14 (quoting Nixon v. Administrator of General Servs., 408 F. Supp. 321, 338-39 (D.D.C. 1976)).
These public interests are of the utmost significance and, as discussed above, are not and will not be fully protected if Defendants’ narrowed interpretation of the PRA’s statutory language is incorrect as a matter of law. Defendants admit that they have only preserved under the PRA those records that they have unilaterally determined to be encompassed in the phrase “documentary material . . . created or received by the [Vice] President . . . in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of [his] constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties . . . .” 44 U.S.C. § 2201(2). The American public, however, has a right to the preservation of all records encompassed by the PRA’s statutory language. As such, until the Court is able to determine whether Defendants’ narrowed interpretation is legally supported, the public interest favors the issuance of a preliminary injunction. . .
For the foregoing reasons, the Court shall GRANT Plaintiffs’  Motion for Preliminary Injunction. As set forth in the Order accompanying this Memorandum Opinion, the Court shall order all Defendants to preserve throughout the pendency of this litigation all documentary material, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof created or received by the Vice President, his staff, or a unit or individual of the Office of the Vice President whose function is to advise and assist the Vice President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the Vice President, without regard to any limiting definitions that Defendants may believe are appropriate. . .
any violation of this order is punishable
by immediate contempt -- including the power
to promptly jail the offender, to deter additional
violations of these preservation orders. cool.