Court Orders Preservation of Vice Presidential Records

09.24.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

In a rare judicial rebuff to the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction (pdf) requiring the preservation of Vice Presidential records over the objections of Administration attorneys.

A lawsuit brought by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) along with historians and others alleged that the Office of Vice President had improperly limited the scope of records that it said would be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, and that records outside the scope of that definition were liable to be destroyed.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed that there was no legal basis on the record for the Vice President’s position. On September 20, she ordered the government to preserve all official Vice Presidential records “without regard to any limiting definitions that Defendants may believe are appropriate.”

“It’s a pretty strong opinion,” said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for CREW. “They will be prevented from destroying anything. It basically means they have to preserve everything in the broadest possible interpretation of what the law requires — not their narrow interpretation.”