A federal appeals court rejected House Democrats' demands to force two of President Bush's top aides to cooperate with an investigation about the firings of nine federal prosecutors in 2006.
Time will run out on this year's congressional session before the battle between two branches of government can be resolved, according to the ruling by a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The ruling blocks a July order by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates to force former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and current White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten to turn over documents. The administration claims executive privilege.
The firings led to the resignation of former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales last year. An internal Justice Department investigation last week found "substantial evidence that partisan political considerations played a part in the removal of several of the U.S. attorneys."