Some earlier accounts of the fight between Jefferson and the Justice Department have assumed that, in the months after the August 2005 subpoenas, both sides were in a standoff, with each side in essence glaring angrily at each other, trying to wait the other out. In fact, there has been much more going on behind the scenes. Last week, NRO reported that the battle that was once thought to be between Jefferson and the Justice Department has actually been between Jefferson, the House, and the Justice Department from the beginning. Now, it appears the battle has been going on in court, under seal.
What has happened in that secret court fight could shape public perceptions of the case. For example, if the Justice Department won a decision against Jefferson before going forward in the search, that news could further tip public opinion toward prosecutors. But if it lost a decision, or if it short-circuited an ongoing court process–out of frustration with its inability to obtain the documents “in a timely manner”–the picture could be quite different. In any event, if the details of the sealed litigation are eventually made public, they will likely change the public’s understanding of the fight over Jefferson.
— Byron York, NR’s White House correspondent, is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President — and Why They’ll Try Even Harder Next Time.