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AG Holder asks for appeal in Fast and Furious case holding him in contempt

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June 19, 2012: Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP

Attorney General Eric Holder wants to appeal a recent judge’s ruling that allows the House to continue with its contempt case, related to Holder’s refusal to turn over documents concerning the Justice Department’s failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-tracking program.

Holder made the request Friday night to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, asking that the Justice Department be allowed to put the case in front of a federal appeals court before Jackson makes any final decisions.

In September, Jackson rejected the Obama administration’s request to have the case dismissed.

The GOP-led House voted last year to put Holder in contempt of court after President Obama invoked executive privilege and Holder refused to turn over the documents.

Fast and Furious was a 2006-2011 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in which the agency allowed hundreds of guns to be sold to Mexican drug traffickers in hopes the weapons would lead them to cartel leaders.

However, some of the guns began turning up at murder scenes along the Arizona-Mexico border, including at the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. And hundreds of other weapons still remain missing.

The appeal filed Friday, reported first by Politico, makes essentially the same argument as the request-to-dismiss case -- that courts shouldn’t get involved in trying to settle disputes between the Executive and Legislative branches.

"Participating in such proceedings will cause harm -- to the Defendant, the Executive Branch, and the separation of powers -- that cannot be reversed if the D.C. Circuit ultimately rules in Defendant’s favor on the threshold questions presented," the 14-page motion states.

The motion also states negotiations between the branches have “generally proceeded without judicial involvement since the inception of congressional oversight.”

Jackson still hasn’t ruled on the legality of Obama invoking executive privilege.

Holder, who has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents related to Fast and Furious, said last year it was an “inappropriate strategy” and that Justice Department leadership “did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics.”