David Kirkpatrick

March 6, 2010

First time farce, second time tragedy

Read this whole piece on the Liz Cheney group Keep America Safe’s shameless attack on U.S. Justice attorneys who upheld American legal tradition and the Constitution by defending Guantanano Bay detainees. I blogged on this topic earlier this week here.

From the first link:

Interviewing Liz Cheney, Bill O’Reilly ran side-by-side photos of Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver who Katyal successfully represented in the Supreme Court. (Neal Katyal, I should mention, is my Georgetown colleague, on leave to the SG’s office.) Some readers might remember Steven Colbert’s hilarious 2006 interview with Katyal soon after the Hamdan decision. Colbert began, “You defended a detainee at Gitmo in front of the Supreme Court — for what reason? Why did you do it?” Neal replied: “A simple thing: he wanted a fair trial….” Colbert (cutting Katyal off): “Why do you hate our troops?” It brought gales of laughter from the audience. Watch the whole thing — it’s one of the few times that Colbert was actually upstaged by his guest.

First time farce, second time tragedy. Colbert’s joke is Bill O’Reilly’s reality — the reality of a nauseating reprise of McCarthyism. No one is laughing now.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

November 14, 2008

Deep rot at Justice

The Bush 43 Department of Justice has been a disgrace, and may well be much worse than the public even knows about right now. Good luck to the incoming DoJ team to shovel through this shitpile.

Scott Horton puts it all in perspective here.

From the Daily Beast link:

Painful as the appearances were of prosecutorial misconduct emerging from the Justice Department’s own letter, in retrospect that letter raises still more troubling issues. It now appears that the Justice Department was aware of even more startling allegations of misconduct raised directly by a member of the prosecution team, and documented with internal communications, but it consciously chose to hide all of this from the court and from opposing counsel. This would warrant another disciplinary review and possible action against the prosecutors.

In the meantime, U.S. Attorney Leura Canary is scrambling to find a new job. But her imminent departure serves to highlight a broader problem. As President-Elect Obama works to pick a new attorney general, his transition team is focused on a series of far more complex issues at the Justice Department. Public confidence in the work of the department has fallen to the lowest level since the Watergate scandal, when attorney generals John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst were indicted and convicted.

Alberto Gonzales and his three most senior deputies were all forced from office in disgrace as evidence mounted that they had abused the Department for political purposes. An internal investigation of this abuse could not be concluded because of obstruction from the White House and the refusal of Bush Administration lawyers to cooperate. A special prosecutor had to be appointed to investigate a number of allegations of politically abusive conduct concerning the operations of U.S. Attorney offices around the country.

Simply appointing a new attorney general will not resolve these problems, but it would be a significant first step. As the Siegelman case shows, some of the departing U.S. attorneys are leaving behind a legal toxic waste dump that may take years to clean up.

Deep Dive:  The key documents in the case.

Scott Horton is a law professor and writer on legal and national security affairs for Harper’s Magazine and The American Lawyer, among other publications.

If you have an interest in the Don Siegelman saga, TPMMuckraker has a many, many posts outlining this disgrace of justice in our nation, a nation of laws except under Bush 43’s DoJ as it turns out.

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