Back in December, a political lifetime ago for Howard Dean, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch hungrily sought sealed records from Dean's 11 years as Vermont governor. Today, as voters in Wisconsin deal what could be the deathblow to Dean's campaign a Vermont court has granted access to Dean's records. Judicial Watch isn't pulling its punches with the once-frontrunner. The group's president Tom Fitton still taunted Dean today about the legal development: "Howard Dean is now getting a lesson in government openness," he said in a statement.
As a result of the court's ruling, Judicial Watch says, Dean will be required to detail the records he is seeking to keep secret there are reportedly 600,000 of them -- and explain specifically why they are supposedly subject to executive privilege. Now that he seems not to have a presidential bid to protect, just how far will Dean go to shield these records from public view? And will anyone bother poring through them?
Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.