The Growing Legal Maelstrom
A number of legal issues are coming home to roost, just in time for the closing act of the Bush/Cheney Administration. It is about damned time — if ever there were a nation in need of an enormous amount of sunshine in all the darkest nooks and crannies in order to fully consider the enormous implications of political choices prior to an election, it is us at this time in this year.
Speaking of election consequences, a reminder: we have fantastic book salons scheduled this weekend. On Saturday, Free Ride: John McCain and the Media will be discussed at 5 pm ET/2 pm PT. And on Sunday, I’ll be tackling the inside scoop on the SCOTUS with Jan Crawford Greenburg’s exceptional Supreme Conflict, also at 5 pm ET/2 pm PT. Both will be great discussions, so do mark your calendars.
The NYTimes points to high profile terror cases which may be imperiled due to the destruction of tapes and evidence in the cases by the CIA/Bush Administration. The sheer stupidity involved in thinking you could sustain a long-term cover-up of destruction of evidence is bad enough. That they would try and supress it as a means to end-run fruit of the poison tree arguments on evidence obtained through maltreatment and torture isn’t exactly surprising.
The fact that they would so blatantly subvert justice, thumb their noses at the very foundations of a right to confront all the evidence and…well, who am I kidding, it’s par for the Bush/Cheney course, isn’t it? No wonder they fought so hard to eviscerate habeas with the MCA. No review means a delay in discovery of wrongdoing. Someone ought to ask Lindsey "Joe Lieberman is a national treasure" Graham how he feels about being the Bush/Cheney cover-up point man.
Scott Horton picks apart two cases recently argued before the SCOTUS, and points to the most likely reason there has been a consistent defection of a number of DOJ appeals attorneys from these cases:
The Bush Administration feels that it is entitled to concoct whatever facts suit it and to present them to the Supreme Court as the binding truth. And watching the Bush Justice Department in action on this case, one comes quickly to understand why a large number of attorneys in the Justice Department’s appeals division have refused to accept assignment to craft briefs and arguments in the Administration’s cases dealings with war on terror detainees. I think there’s a simple reason that accounts for this mass desertion under fire: those lawyers take their duty not to lie to the courts seriously–unlike the lawyers who present and argue these cases, who are happy to fabricate whatever absurdities they feel will serve them and then spout them before the Court.
It’s been a widespread refusal over quite a while, too. I have been in front of a number of judges in my professional lifetime, and I can tell you that when they catch a lawyer in a lie, it is ugly, swift and angry as a response. Fabricating information before the SCOTUS is beyond anathema to any decent jurist. Lawyers who do so should be shunned — it is unconscionable and unethical, and a perversion of our system of justice. For shame.
Scott also has an update on the Siegelman case — where Siegelman’s release was ordered by the Appeals Court pending appeal, upcoming testimony before the House is expected, and the questions about the DOJ’s inability to self-police for unethical, politicized conduct just keep growing. What a mess.
Marty Lederman breaks down the latest revelations on the FISA/NSA illegal domestic spying fiasco, courtesy of revelations from Eric Lichtblau’s new book. Consider this my daily hello to the minions and cronies at Vice President Cheney’s office who pushed this illegal dreck on the nation without giving a rats ass about the constitutional implications thereof. Apparently, it makes AG Mukasey verklempt to even talk about it. Marty has further discussion here, dday tackles the issues at Digby’s, and bmaz hits this as well at emptywheel.
According to CQ, the GOP is looking for new FISA pressure points because the old ones have turned out to be
blatant, factually inaccurate lies not very effective. Now would be a great time to call your Senators and tell them to stand up for liberty and the rule of law, to stand against telecom immunity, and to not fall for inaccurate crap. Senate office numbers can be found here.
(YouTube — Renee Fleming sings "Song to the moon" from Dvorak’s Rusalka.)
UPDATE: KagroX has the latest in GOP Congressional gauntlet throwing…here’s hoping the Dem leadership pays attention to the fact that GOP staffers think they are weak-willed ninnies…and then tell them to shove it.