Text Of Chief Justice Rehnquist's Order Denying Secret Service Stay
Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist refused to extend a stay Friday, allowing Secret Service agents to testify before a federal grand jury investigating President Bill Clinton's relationship with ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The full text of the two-page order reads:
"This case is before me as Circuit Justice on the application for stay
submited by the Solicitor General, on behalf of the Secretary of the Treasury
Robert E. Rubin. Because several of my colleagues are out of the country, I
have decided to rule on the matter myself rather than refer it to the
"An applicant for stay first must show irreparable harm if a stay is
denied. In my view, the applicant has not demonstrated that denying a stay and
enforcing the subpoenas pending a decision on certiorari would cause
irreparable harm. The Secretary identifies two injuries that would result from
denying a stay: any privileged information would be lost forever and the
important interests that the "protective function privilege" protects would be
"I cannot say that any harm caused by the interim enforcement of the
subpoenas will be irreparable. If the Secretary's claim of privilege is
eventually upheld, disclosure of past events will not affect the President's
relationship with his protectors in the future. On balance, the equities do not
favor granting a stay.
"An applicant for stay must also show that there is a likelihood that four
members of this Court will grant certiorari to review the decision of the Court
of Appeals on the merits. This case is obviously not a run-of-the-mine dispute,
pitting as it does the prosecution's need for testimony before a grand jury
against claims involving the safety and protection of the President of the
United States. I shall assume, without deciding, that four members of the Court
on that basis would grant certiorari.
"But a stay applicant must also show that there is a likelihood that this
Court, having granted certiorari and heard the case, would reverse judgment of
the Court of Appeals. The applicant simply has not made that showing to my
satisfaction, and I believe my view would be shared by a majority of my
colleagues. The opinion of the Court of Appeals seems to me cogent and correct.
The District Court which considered the matter was also of that view, and none
of the nine judges of the Court of Appeals even requested a vote on the
applicant's suggestion for rehearing en banc.
"The application for stay is accordingly denied."