You heard it here

February 22, 2002 1:40 p.m.

You heard it here TPM World Exclusive!  You heard it hear first!  Must Credit.first. The all-important Cheney/GAO case has been assigned to Judge John Bates.

Bates is a Bush appointee who was confirmed only on December 11th, 2001. He’s considered a moderate Republican.

Carter Phillips of Sidley & Austin has, apparently, been retained by the GAO to argue their case.

Late Update: Judge Bates served as Deputy Independent Counsel under Ken Starr from September 1995 until leaving in March 1997.

That year Bates argued the case in which an appeals court ruled that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton had to turn over notes of conversations about Whitewater.

During that proceedings, in April 1997, Bates told the court “We certainly are investigating individuals, and those individuals — including Mrs. Clinton — could be indicted.”

Less than a year later, in January 1998, when Starr was coming under fire for partisan bias, Bates told the Washington Post

The independent counsel’s office has been staffed over the last several years by professional prosecutors with enormous experience who have diligently and properly followed relevant leads in an attempt to discover the truth. These individuals are not partisans who are on a mission but rather professionals who take their jobs and obligations seriously.

The two are far from identical, but it sure will be interesting to see the arguments Bates made about the earlier case of turning over notes.

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