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Appeals Court Issues Stay In Legal Fight Over Miers-Bolten Subpoenas

A federal appeals court issued a stay in a legal fight over subpoenas issued to former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, meaning the issue will not be decided until after President Bush finished his term.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee had sued the Bush administration in civil court in order to enforce the subpoenas, which were issued as part of the panel's probe into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. A lower court ruled in favor of the Judiciary Committee, but the Bush administration sought a stay in the case in order to appeal. The appeals court ruling will likely end any chance that the matter will drag on well into 2009.

Republicans hailed the ruling and accused the Democrats of trying to play the issue for political points, something that they have said throughout the committee's investigation.

"After three Inspector General reports, the facts continue to show that there was no grand Administration conspiracy in the dismissal of several U.S. Attorneys," said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Smith was referring to a recent IG report that found no criminal behavior by Justice Department officials over the firings, although a special prosecutor has been appointed to continue probing the matter.

Smith added:  "Rather than continue to waste the American people’s time and money, I hope that next year House Democrats put partisan politics aside and focus on a real agenda that serves the American people.”