Karl Rove is facing contempt citations for his refusal to answer subpoenas to testify before congress. But lucky for him, he's gotten himself a friendly judge in Bush appointee John Bates:

A former deputy independent counsel in Ken Starr's Whitewater investigation, Bates is the same judge who threw out a Government Accountability Office complaint against Vice President Dick Cheney in December 2002. Back then, the GAO's comptroller general, David Walker, was seeking access to internal documents from Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force, using arguments similar to those the judiciary committee is making today—namely that the White House's refusal to provide information to congressional investigators is damaging Congress' oversight mandate.

Note, of course, that a background working for Ken Starr clearly does not in this case signify a strong belief in vigorous oversight of the executive branch. Rather, as Bates' previous rulings make clear, he's a believer in vigorous oversight of Democratic Party presidents while Republicans can do whatever they want. Bush clearly chose well when deciding to make this guy a judge.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to