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Federal judge dismisses Hillary Clinton 'Filegate' suit

[JURIST] A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a suit against Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton [official profile] for allegedly misusing FBI background records to obtain information on Republican White House employees during Bill Clinton's presidency. US District Judge Royce Lamberth removed Clinton as a defendant [AP report] in the case [materials] because there was no legal basis to require Clinton to submit to an oral deposition. The controversy, known as "Filegate," stems from a Clinton administration request for FBI background checks on White House employees, which included Republican political appointees of prior administrations. The administration has defended itself by claiming that it was trying to reconstruct personnel files that were kept by former president George H.W. Bush. The lawsuit was brought by White House employees of prior administrations who alleged that the FBI and Clinton White House violated the Privacy Act [5 USC § 552a text] and that Hillary Clinton and others committed common law invasion of privacy. The Office of the Independent Counsel conducted an investigation into the matter and reported [press release] in 2000 that there was "no substantial and credible evidence" that Hillary Clinton was involved in seeking the FBI reports.

The plaintiffs in the Filegate suit have been represented by Judicial Watch [advocacy website], which filed suit [complaint, PDF; materials] earlier this year against Hillary Clinton in an unrelated case. The group alleges that the Article I, § 6 [text] "ineligibility clause" of the Constitution prohibits Clinton from serving as Secretary of State. The provision states that "[n]o Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time." Judicial Watch recently filed an opposition to Clinton's motion to dismiss [texts, PDF], asking the court to declare Clinton ineligible to serve as Secretary of State.

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