Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) wants the Supreme Court to weigh in on his long-running legal battle with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
McDermott formally asked the Supreme Court to take up his appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that found he had improperly leaked to the press a Dec. 1996 phone call between House GOP leaders plotting out strategy to deal with an ethics case involving then Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
A Florida couple illegally intercepted the tape (they later pleaded guilty to doing so) and a copy of the tape ended up in McDermott's hands. McDermott, who was at that time ranking member of the House ethics committee, gave it reporters from the New York Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Roll Call.
Boehner sued McDermott for giving out the tape, and after a long legal struggle, an appeals court ruled that McDermott had to pay damages to the Ohio Republican, as well as his court costs, which could exceed $800,000. McDermott has set up a legal defense fund to help cover the costs of his own lawyers' fees.