Court Panel Orders Tom Vilsack Subpoena Be Quashed

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gives a press conference on June 17, 2014 at the EU headquarters in Brussels after his meeting with EU commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images) | JOHN THYS via Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has ordered that a subpoena be quashed for testimony by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a lawsuit filed against the late blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod sued Breitbart and his colleague Larry O'Connor after Breitbart posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, supposedly making racist remarks. Sherrod says her words were taken out of context.

With approval from U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, Sherrod and O'Connor subpoenaed Vilsack, who has said he requested Sherrod's resignation.

On Thursday, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said top executive department officials should not be called to testify regarding their reasons for taking official actions, absent extraordinary circumstances.

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