Valerie Plame’s case against Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has been thrown out of court.
U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ruled that Plame, the former CIA agent outed by Armitage, and her husband Joseph Wilson could not demonstrate that they could leap the bar that prevents plaintiffs from suing officials over their conduct while part of the government.
The first of the plaintiffs’ four claims asserted a violation of Wilson’s First Amendment rights, since he was allegedly targeted for speaking out against the Bush administration. The other three claims cited
Fifth Amendment violations.
In his 41-page decision, Judge Bates referenced Harlow v.Fitzgerald: “Under general qualified-immunity principles, government officials are ‘shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.’" He added that the defendants raised “substantial questions” about the validity of Plame and Wilson’s claims.