Bush Appointed Judge Throws Out Valerie Plame's Civil Suit

Steve Benen: Judge Bates' resume includes a stint on Ken Starr's Whitewater team, so we know where he's coming from.
This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

This is most disappointing.
A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal.
Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had accused Vice President Dick Cheney and others of conspiring to leak her identity in 2003. Plame said that violated her privacy rights and was illegal retribution for her husband's criticism of the administration.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Plame's attorneys had said the lawsuit would be an uphill battle. Public officials are normally immune from such lawsuits filed in connection with their jobs.
I'm still getting the details -- I have not yet read the dismissal -- but apparently the decision wasn't based on the merits of Plame's claim, but rather procedural issues regarding jurisdiction. (In other words, if you hear/see a conservative say, "Plame's case was thrown out because it was baseless," that's wrong.)
Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.
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