Few principles are more important to our constitutional scheme than the separation of powers, which is precisely why President Obama’s bogus assertion of executive privilege to thwart Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious is so inexcusable.
Executive privilege is an important safeguard against congressional overreach and to preserve the separation of powers. The inherent right of the executive to protect highly sensitive information has long been recognized, and the privilege was judicially established during the Watergate era.
As such, Congress should not go on fishing expeditions against a president to score political points. But neither should a president assert the privilege to obstruct a legitimate investigation when there appears to be no colorable claim to the privilege. This trivializes the privilege and the separation of powers it is designed to protect.