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A Peek Inside The Briefs

Sam the American Eagle, Rowlf, and a Muppet Show moment…sometimes you need a little giggle.

And now for an update on some legal bits and pieces:

— As Marcy points out at Next Hurrah, the Stanford Lawyer has an intriguing interview with Carol Lam that includes this telling, yet wholly incomplete and un-followed-up bit that begs for more discussion:

What these events did show me is that you can’t have a Department of Justice that’s a straight shot to the White House, and that was really the problem here.

The Math rears its ugly, fetid turdblossom again. 

Glenn has a fantastic look back at some history on retroactive immunity — and why it is a bad idea.

Just as now, the lawbreaking banks insisted that they must be protected from the devastating consequences of their lawbreaking — claims that Kennedy and Katzenbach easily destroyed. After all, the banks — like the telecoms now — were the ones who chose to break the law, knowing that it was illegal, because they perceived there to be great economic benefit in doing so. To then grant them amnesty would be to reward lawbreaking. Those arguments prevailed and the amnesty deal was derailed.

Common sense and commitment to rule of law.  More of this, please.

— Fascinating article in today’s NYTimes Magazine on an officer and lawyer at Guantanamo who was disgusted with the Bush Administration’s disrespect for legal principles and refusal to fully provide discovery to defense counsel.  And the repercussions involved in breaking the law, not just for those being held at Guantanamo, but for this officer who took it upon himself to act outside his orders.  Lots of difficult questions on both sides of this are raised — questions we ought to have been asking a long time ago.

— Marty and company at Balkinization takes on “waterboarding as an ambiguous question…or not so much.”  See here, here, here and here.

—  Finally, the WaPo has a bit of exposure on political considerations being brought to bear on prosecutions at Guantanamo.  You tell me, are officers at the Pentagon being politicized, too?

Politically motivated officials at the Pentagon have pushed for convictions of high-profile detainees ahead of the 2008 elections, the former lead prosecutor for terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay said last night, adding that the pressure played a part in his decision to resign earlier this month.

Senior defense officials discussed in a September 2006 meeting the “strategic political value” of putting some prominent detainees on trial, said Air Force Col. Morris Davis. He said that he felt pressure to pursue cases that were deemed “sexy” over those that prosecutors believed were the most solid or were ready to go.

Davis said his resignation was also prompted by newly appointed senior officials seeking to use classified evidence in what would be closed sessions of court, and by almost all elements of the military commissions process being put under the Defense Department general counsel’s command, something he believes could present serious conflicts of interest.

“There was a big concern that the election of 2008 is coming up,” Davis said. “People wanted to get the cases going. There was a rush to get high-interest cases into court at the expense of openness.”…

Much more sunshine on this, please. Now.  Mark Kleiman agrees.

UPDATEDuncan finds an LATimes piece that I missed this morning.  The stupid, it burns…quite literally.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com