Buying Obama Time, Congress Delays Rove Subpoena Deadline

Justice delayed?

The House Judiciary committee has agreed to a request from Karl Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, to postpone the deadline by which Rove must respond to a subpoena issued by the committee.

Here’s the letter sent by the committee, agreeing to Luskin’s request and setting a new date of February 23 for Rove’s testimony.

The hold-off serves the interests of the White House. The Obama administration is scheduled to file a brief on February 18 in the ongoing court case over the House’s subpoena of two other senior Bush White House aides, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten. At that time, it will likely indicate whether it intends to back President Bush’s claim of retroactive executive privilege on behalf of his aides. So the committee’s decision to agree to Luskin’s request means the Obama administration has until then to formulate its position.

The ball, then, is still in Obama’s court. And court is still exactly where the battle over Rove’s testimony is most likely headed.