The Uphill Fight to Force a Cabinet Member to Testify


Stephen Ryan, assessing a case in which Native American tribes seek to subpoena the Secretary of the Interior, said the government usually wins when it asks courts to shield high-ranking executive branch officials from questioning about official actions, “A judge is going to ask you [the plaintiff] to show why, with particularity, [the official has] to be questioned — are they on the documents, are they integrally involved in the decision, are they the decision-¬maker?” Mr. Ryan said. “You face an uphill battle because the government can’t have the head of an agency in a deposition once a week.”