From Matt Apuzzo of the AP:
WASHINGTON - Formeraide I. cannot delay his 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled Monday.
The decision is a dramatic setback for Libby, who likely will have to surrender to prison in weeks. The ruling puts pressure on, who has been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon the former chief of staff to .
Libby believed he had a good chance of overturning the conviction on appeal and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to put the sentence on hold. In a two-sentence ruling, the court refused.
The decision leaves Libby with few legal options, the most likely being an appeal to. Barring an intervention there, it seems only Bush could spare Libby prison time.
I have no idea what the timing of Supreme Court involvement would be. [A surprised Beldar thinks the odds of getting Supreme relief is "very, very remote".]
As to the ruling itself, I am officially surprised - I thought Libby's arguments on the constitutionality of the Fitzgerald appointment were at least close enough for a stay pending appeal, as did the Twelve Amigos who filed their amicus brief with the trial court.
As has been discussed previously, Bush has other options than a full pardon available to him. For example, Bush could commute Libby's sentence to a fine and probation; that would allow Libby to continue his legal appeals without going to jail (and keep open the possibility of an end-of-term full pardon).