Friday, November 20, 2009

John Yoo Too

Glennzilla quotes attorney general Eric Holder and then comments:

[Holder] Courts and commissions are both essential tools in our fight against terrorism . . . On the same day I sent these five defendants to federal court, I referred five others to be tried in military commissions. I am a prosecutor, and as a prosecutor, my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case with the best law. . . . At the end of the day, it was clear to me that the venue in which we are most likely to obtain justice for the American people is a federal court.
[Greenwald] Does that remotely sound like a "justice system"? If you're accused of being a Terrorist, there's not one set procedure used to determine your guilt; instead, the Government has a roving bazaar of various processes which it, in its sole discretion, picks for you based on ensuring that it will win. Even worse, Holder repeatedly assured Senators that the administration would continue to imprison 9/11 defendants even in the very unlikely case that they were acquitted, citing what they previously suggested was their Orwellian authority of so-called "post-acquittal detention powers." Is there any better definition of a "show trial" than one in which the defendant has no chance of ever being released even if acquitted, because the Government will simply thereafter assert the power to hold him indefinitely without charges?
I would be delighted to be shown where Greenwald has erred in his assessment of the current administration's abuses. At best, I've encountered celebrations of the fact that Barack Obama is a constitutional law scholar -- Randi Rhodes likes to recite this factoid in her radio show -- but this intensifies rather than excuses the insult to what used to be American legal standards. Of all people, Barack Obama knows better than to do what he is doing, and yet he continues unraveling the rule of law with as much blithe indifference (or merriment, or cynicism, or whatever it is) as his worst predecessors.

John Yoo is also a constitutional scholar. Constitutional scholarship manifestly doesn't help.

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