Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 22, 2009
LAW/POLITICS: Uh, Pandora, Shut That Lid...

Christopher Badeaux continues his look at the dangers unleashed by threatening to impeach a federal judge over legal advice given prior to taking the bench. As he notes, Democrats proposing these sorts of things plainly are not planning for the possibility that Republicans might ever retake control of any branch of government.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:29 AM | Law 2009-13 • | Politics 2009 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Bybee counseled his clients to break the law. I would never want someone like that on any court, Democrat or Republican.

Posted by: Steve at April 22, 2009 12:29 PM

OK Steve, let's make sure we are on the same page here. Let's try a hypothetical.

Client (a Democratic Senator who chairs a committee): "This statute says we can't issue a subpoena for X. I want to subpoena Y. Is Y covered by the statutory definition of X?"

Lawyer: "Here's a detailed memo explaining why I think Y is not covered by the statutory definition of X. Go ahead and issue the subpoena."

Subpoena is issued; target fights the subpoena, and a court disagrees with Lawyer's reading of the statute. Meanwhile, Lawyer is nominated and confirmed as a federal judge.

Republicans take over the House and Senate. House votes to impeach Lawyer for counseling Senator Client to "break the law" by issuing the subpoena.

You are a Democratic Senator. You think Lawyer is a wonderful judge. Do you vote to convict?

Posted by: Crank at April 22, 2009 1:33 PM

Again referencing my prior posts.
1) waterboarding was not explicitly against the law.
2) specific congress members from both parties were made aware of what was going on-only worry voiced was whether it was tough enough
3) around 30 times members of Congress were given info at meetings regarding what was going on and what was revealed-no complaints
4) Dems have been in charge of Congress for over 2 years now and at any time could have a drafted and voted on a law outlawing wastrboarding and other techniques they allegedly find barbaric, etc-they haven't-Why? because they really don't care about the issue, they are not really outraged, they want to be safe, but they need something to keep their squadrons of lefty flying screech monkeys agitated and unfocused.

Posted by: dch at April 22, 2009 1:53 PM

Your hypo is different from what happened with Bybee. He and others twisted the law to tell administration officials what they wanted to hear. I do not believe these lawyers acted in good faith. Frankly, I do not believe anyone in the Bush administration acted in good faith. This was not just bad legal advice; it was advice on interrogation tactics which led to war crimes (at least in my opinion). I do not believe Bybee will be impeached, by the way. The Dems do not have the guts to go there, and there are going to be too many other fishes to fry in this fight. Going after a Circuit judge would never be a priority. This debate is academic, really.

Posted by: steve at April 22, 2009 4:01 PM

So, a Republican-controlled Congress that felt a liberal judge had "twisted the law to tell [clients, whether public or private] what they wanted to hear" while in practice would be justified in impeaching that judge?

Posted by: Crank at April 22, 2009 4:07 PM

Crank, just ignore him. Your description of the lawyers action:

"Here's a detailed memo explaining why I think Y is not covered by the statutory definition of X. Go ahead and issue the subpoena."

Could easily be read by any narrow minded partisan like Steve as "[twisting] the law to tell [the democratic Senator] what [he] wanted to hear".

It's not a real or serious argument.

Posted by: Richard at April 22, 2009 6:25 PM

Crank and others-you are arguing with the same people who have managed to develop amnesia about everything that happened with Iraq from 1993-2001, everything said and done by the Clinton Admin, Congressional Dems, the UN, during that time. These people don't live in reality. These are the same people who were snarling about the surge a year to a year and a half ago and they now have forgotten how wrong they were about everything they said. These are the same people that were babbling about Republican spending and have jack shit to say about a quadrupling o f the deficit under Obumbler. They have mental problems and/or a total lack of honesty and honor. Treat them with the disdain they deserve. Talk at them not to them.

Posted by: dch at April 22, 2009 6:49 PM

Crank,

We'll take our chances because the utter disregard of the law that Yoo, Bybee, et al. displayed is mind boggling. If that is the standard, we'll be fine.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 22, 2009 10:20 PM

Magrooder - That's intended as comic relief, right? You don't actually think any adult believes that strict adherence to written law is exactly a hallmark of liberal legal activism, do you?

Posted by: Crank at April 22, 2009 11:45 PM

Crank,

An off topic question, what are your thoughts on the recent Arizona v. Gant SCOTUS decision? The case (or rather the decision) is interesting to me for a couple reasons. First, I think the issue of search limits on law enforcement is something that needs greater clarity. Secondly, the alignment of the justices concurring and dissenting is unusual. Ginsberg, Scalia, Souter and Thomas don't often side together unless it is a 8-1 or 9 -0 decision.

Posted by: largebill at April 23, 2009 9:27 AM

Steve - I am not trying to be snide, but have you read the memo? Bybee's analysis is fairly straight forward, and he admits that waterboarding is a close call. Maybe it's because I am a lawyer and have written countless legal memos myself, but nothing in the analysis seems faulty or stretched to fit a pre-determined outcome.

Posted by: wd at April 23, 2009 9:35 AM

Maybe it's true that the Bush Administration, like Saddam Hussein's before them, were just trying to protect the people of their country.
Perhaps those who claim/ claimed war crimes, are/ were just trying to score cheap political points.

Checkout what the current head of the GOP had to say about Saddam's efforts to protect his people: "And now the liberals want to stop President Reagan from selling chemical warfare agents and military equipment to Saddam Hussein, and why? Because Saddam allegedly gassed a few Kurds in his own country. Mark my words. All of this talk of Saddam Hussein being a war criminal or committing crimes against humanity is the same old thing - liberal hate speech."
--Rush Limbaugh, November 3, 1988

Seems like a lot of money wasted and innocent deaths brought about by the War in Iraq over a li'l ole policy dispute.

Posted by: Berto at April 23, 2009 7:43 PM

It does not surprise me that Berto gets his news from the funny papers.

Posted by: Crank at April 23, 2009 7:47 PM

Crank,

The difference between lefty judges and righty judges is that lefty judges acknowledge that "interpretation" of ambiguous passages is necessary, while Thomas, Scalia and thier ilk pretend that their decisions are the received word of the founders, when all they are really doing is making it up as they go along.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 26, 2009 11:19 PM
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