Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Torture Bad. Rule By Decree....um, not so much 

Okay, this story is not--just barely not, but still not--quite as bad as the headline implies.

Lambert has been valiantly flogging the fact that the worst thing about Alberto Gonzales is NOT his compliant willingness to work out a legal justification for torture if that's what Dear Leader wants him to do, but the fact that in pursuit of that end he has perverted his legal mind to justify Rule By Decree.

The idea--found, as best as I can tell from the copy of the US Constitution which is open on my desk as I write--that the Executive can decide that a law duly passed by Congress is unConstitutional and therefore can be ignored, abrogated and generally pissed upon.

Slowly, agonizingly slowly, this atrocity is working its way into the print media at least:

(via The Invaluable Froom)
Dan Eggen and Charles Babington write in The Washington Post: "Attorney general nominee Alberto R. Gonzales, responding to questions about his role in setting controversial detention policies, told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that any form of torture by U.S. personnel is illegal, according to new documents released yesterday.

"But Gonzales, the White House counsel who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate in coming weeks, declined to identify the techniques allowed under U.S. interrogation policies, citing restrictions on classified information. He also reiterated his view that a president could theoretically decide that a U.S. law -- such as the prohibition against torture -- is unconstitutional, though he dismissed the question as irrelevant under President Bush."
Read that last sentence again. Now that we've noted that this is what Gonzales truly believes--not just something that he did because he was told, in his capacity as White House capo, like a kid assigned to write a term paper about Moby-Dick or something--but truly believes, how can there be any consideration by anyone that this man is deserving of a government paycheck in any capacity? Much less as the chief lawyer of the land?

Don't Senators take an oath too? About defending the Constitution "from all enemies, foreign and domestic"?

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