Archive for the 'the_law' Category

Audiovisual Commentary on the State of Policing in San Francisco

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Note to police officers with a propensity to hassle scruffy young skateboarders: Consider that said skateboarders might be filming a video, and be wired up with non-obvious recording tech:

I’ve taken the cop’s side in discussing situations like this before, and I realize there is more to this interaction than we’re seeing here. If the cop had shot and edited this video, it probably would create a completely different impression. Then again, if the cop had been recording this with his own camera, knowing that his superiors were going to review it in case of complaints, I’m guessing he would have handled himself a wee bit differently. Which is kind of the point of laws like the one Obama helped pass in the Illinois state legislature, requiring jailhouse interrogations to be videotaped.

More here from S.F. skateboarder vs. SFPD officer.

Grrlscientist on the Supreme Court on DNA Testing

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

What grrlscientist said (from …And Justice for All?):

This Supreme Court decision is ethically repugnant because it does nothing to protect the powerless, the poor and the disenfranchised in this country, which is what the Constitution was originally designed to do. This outrageous decision abandons innocent people who have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, and worse, it will cause the deaths of innocent people at the hands of the government — in the name of each and every one of us. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. should be ashamed and all of us should be outraged.

The list of reasons to despise George W. Bush is long. But the presence of Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, and decisions like this one, are a reminder that even though he’s gone, his toxic impact lives on.

Hilzoy on Obama on the Uighurs

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Another item in my list of reasons to be disappointed in the Obama administration, and to fail to muster the True Believer zeal required to be fully onboard with supporting his agenda. As explained by Hilzoy, in Shameful:

We set up a system that gave people incentives to turn over people they claimed were foreign fighters, whether they were or not. We then dismantled all our normal procedures for separating combatants from non-combatants. It should not surprise anyone that we ended up detaining people who were innocent.

I have no problem with the government taking some reasonable period of time to try to identify another country that is willing to take detainees who cannot be returned to their own countries. But these detainees have been held for seven and a half years. That’s not a reasonable amount of time to tie up loose ends; it’s a tenth of a normal lifespan.

We screwed up. We should step up to the plate and do what’s right. Seven and a half years is too long.

That’s not change I can believe in. That’s continuing the worst aspects of the Bush administration.

Fake DHS “photography license” for fake no-photos laws – Boing Boing

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Awesome: Fake DHS “photography license” for fake no-photos laws.

Who knows if it’s legal to carry one of these — probably about as legal as taking away your camera and erasing your memory card for snapping a pic on the subway.

Free Basketball Hoop to Good Home

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

This story caught my eye, in part because I have a basketball hoop I want to get rid of. I should post an ad on Craigslist, like Sherry Huwitt did:

Free basket ball goal and tether ball pole. At dead end of roadway beside my home…(address) dont knock its placed out there for you to come get. will delete when gone. thanks.

Except Huwitt didn’t post the ad. Her neighbor, who didn’t want her to keep the hoop and tetherball in her yard, did. And he succeeded: By the end of the day, the hoop and tetherball were gone. Oh, and the neighbor who placed the fraudulent ad… is a cop.

Details: Mansfield woman says Arlington officer offered her possessions on Craigslist without her consent.

I like the quote from the district attorney’s office:

We don’t really know what the offense is yet. There are several different offenses that might fit. That’s why the district attorney is reviewing it, to find out if there is a criminal offense and, if so, to find out which offense fits the best.

Or the county prosecutor:

“I’m having to look up a lot of the law,” she said, “to determine one, if the law was broken, and what that law is.”

Nice of the DA and prosecutor to give the perpetrator the benefit of the doubt like that. But do you suppose the wheels of justice would be grinding in that particular way if he wasn’t a police officer? What if he had given away, say, Huwitt’s car?

Not the biggest outrage in the world, obviously. But interesting.

Kamiya: The Case for Investigations

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

I can’t find any particular part of this essay by Gary Kamiya to excerpt — the whole thing is too awesome to lend itself to summarizing: America’s necessary dark night of the soul.

I think Kamiya’s argument is a compelling response to Obama’s “we need to look forward” position. Yes, we have many other crucial matters we need to deal with. Yes, Obama does not have limitless political capital. Yes, there are many powerful people on both sides of the aisle who are implicated in the bad things that happened over the last eight years, and who can be expected to be about as cooperative in the investigation as the Sunni insurgents were in the reconstruction of Iraq.

This investigation will not happen because Obama wants it; he doesn’t want it. It is not in his interest. Neither is it in the interest of the current Democratic leadership in Congress, nor that of congressional Republicans. It will not come from the people represented by the blue line in this recent Pew Research graph, nor from those represented by the red line.

It will come from those of us represented by the avocado green line:


It will not be easy. It will not be pretty. But only once we’ve dragged this sordid, festering truth out into the sunlight will we be able to see it for what it really is, and move on.

Obama on Torture and State Secrets

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Refreshing to have a president who can respond at a press conference without needing to pause for tens of seconds while he listens to Karl Rove whisper instructions in his surgically implanted earpiece, isn’t it?

I’m kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, I thought Obama’s responses last night to Jake Tapper, Mark Knoller, and Michael Scherer’s questions about torture, torture, and state secrets (respectively) were pretty interesting. The full transcript of the press conference is here: News conference by the president, 4/29/09. Here are the interesting-to-me bits:

THE PRESIDENT: …Jake. Where’s Jake? There he is.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve said in the past that waterboarding, in your opinion, is torture. Torture is a violation of international law and the Geneva conventions. Do you believe that the previous administration sanctioned torture?

THE PRESIDENT: What I’ve said — and I will repeat — is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values. I do believe that it is torture. I don’t think that’s just my opinion; that’s the opinion of many who’ve examined the topic. And that’s why I put an end to these practices. I am absolutely convinced it was the right thing to do — not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees who were subjected to this treatment, but because we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, in ways that were consistent with who we are.

I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day, talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, we don’t torture — when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat. And the reason was that Churchill understood you start taking shortcuts, and over time that corrodes what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.

And so I strongly believe that the steps that we’ve taken to prevent these kinds of enhanced interrogation techniques will make us stronger over the long term, and make us safer over the long term, because it will put us in a position where we can still get information — in some cases, it may be harder, but part of what makes us, I think, still a beacon to the world, is that we are willing to hold true to our ideals even when it’s hard, not just when it’s easy.

At the same time, it takes away a critical recruitment tool that al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have used to try to demonize the United States and justify the killing of civilians. And it makes us — it puts us in a much stronger position to work with our allies in the kind of international coordinated intelligence activity that can shut down these networks.

So this is a decision that I am very comfortable with. And I think the American people over time will recognize that it is better for us to stick to who we are, even when we’re taking on a unscrupulous enemy.

Okay. I’m sorry.

Q — administration sanction torture?

THE PRESIDENT: I believe that waterboarding was torture. And I think that the — whatever legal rationales were used, it was a mistake.

Mark Knoller.

Q Thank you, sir. Let me follow up, if I may, on Jake’s question. Did you read the documents recently referred to by former Vice President Cheney and others, saying that the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques not only protected the nation, but saved lives? And if part of the United States were under imminent threat, could you envision yourself ever authorizing the use of those enhanced interrogation techniques?

THE PRESIDENT: I have read the documents. Now, they haven’t been officially declassified and released, and so I don’t want to go into the details of them. But here’s what I can tell you — that the public reports and the public justifications for these techniques — which is that we got information from these individuals that were subjected to these techniques — doesn’t answer the core question, which is: Could we have gotten that same information without resorting to these techniques? And it doesn’t answer the broader question: Are we safer as a consequence of having used these techniques?

So when I made the decision to release these memos and when I made the decision to bar these practices, this was based on consultation with my entire national security team, and based on my understanding that ultimately I will be judged as Commander-in-Chief on how safe I’m keeping the American people. That’s the responsibility I wake up with and it’s the responsibility I go to sleep with.

And so I will do whatever is required to keep the American people safe, but I am absolutely convinced that the best way I can do that is to make sure that we are not taking shortcuts that undermine who we are. And there have been no circumstances during the course of this first hundred days in which I have seen information that would make me second-guess the decision that I’ve made.


THE PRESIDENT: …Michael Scherer of TIME.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. During the campaign you criticized President Bush’s use of the state secrets privilege. But U.S. attorneys have continued to argue the Bush position in three cases in court. How exactly does your view of state secrets differ from President Bush’s? And do you believe Presidents should be able to derail entire lawsuits about warrantless wiretapping or rendition, if classified information is involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I actually think that the state secret doctrine should be modified. I think right how it’s over-broad. But keep in mind what happens is, we come into office, we’re in for a week — and suddenly we’ve got a court filing that’s coming up. And so we don’t have the time to effectively think through what, exactly, should a overarching reform of that doctrine take. We’ve got to respond to the immediate case in front of us.

I think it is appropriate to say that there are going to be cases in which national security interests are genuinely at stake, and that you can’t litigate without revealing covert activities or classified information that would genuinely compromise our safety. But searching for ways to redact, to carve out certain cases, to see what can be done so that a judge in chambers can review information without it being in open court — you know, there should be some additional tools so that it’s not such a blunt instrument. And we’re interested in pursuing that. I know that Eric Holder and Greg Craig, my White House Counsel, and others are working on that as we speak.

So, as I said, interesting stuff. For analysis, I suggest lefty attack-weasel Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s pretty words on secrecy and torture last night. From the other side of the question (if not the other side of the political spectrum), I also found the following pre-press conference pieces by Clive Crook to be worth chewing over: Obama’s needless fight over torture and More on torture prosecutions.

On the conservative side, I’m not aware of anyone grappling with the reality of what’s going on to a similar degree, but I also haven’t really been looking. Does anyone have any sources to suggest? I’m not interested in Fox News, or Rush, or Dick Cheney; I feel pretty confident that I already know their take on this, and have given them all the attention they deserve. But if there are principled conservatives engaging with the issue in an honest way, I’d be interested in reading what they have to say. Thanks.

Appeals Court Rules Against Administration in Jeppesen Case

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

This is awesome news: Suit by 5 ex-captives of CIA can proceed, appeals panel rules.

Tomasky on Gingrich on David Hamilton on Jesus vs. Allah

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

With a title like this, how could I not read it? How they lie: a case study. Michael Tomasky, writing in the Guardian, goes on about something Newt Gingrich said in an interview in Christianity Today. Here’s the Gingrich quote:

You have Obama nominating Judge Hamilton, who said in her ruling that saying the words Jesus Christ in a prayer is a sign of inappropriate behavior, but saying Allah would be OK. You’ll find most Republican senators voting against a judge who is confused about whether you can say Jesus Christ in a prayer, particularly one who is pro-Muslim being able to say Allah.

And yeah, as far as it goes, it appears Gingrich is playing fast and loose with the facts. Judge Hamilton is a man, David Hamilton, so Gingrich referring to him as her is either a sloppy error or a cleverly chosen lie intended to push the buttons of the readers of Christianity Today. Given that there has been extensive press coverage of Hamilton’s nomination, Obama’s first to the federal judiciary, I think the “sloppy error” theory doesn’t really hold water.

Tomasky tells a sob story of having to google his way through “four or five pages” of returned results, and links to a story at (Judicial Nominee Says Prayers to Allah Okay, But Not to Jesus), saying, “This one apparently set things going.” That article is pretty bad, it’s true; it says this, for example:

Hamilton has ideal liberal credentials. He is a former ACLU lawyer and was a fundraiser for the corrupt group known as ACORN. This organization engages in fraudulent voter registration campaigns and is deeply involved in housing and poverty issues. Obama was an attorney for ACORN when he worked as a “community organizer” in Chicago. ACORN will be gathering data for the 2010 Census.

This lawyer is so radical that the liberal ABA rated him as “not qualified” when Bill Clinton nominated him for a district court post in 1994.

A few minutes’ googling on my part tells me that that characterization is pretty out there. There’s no mention of either the ACLU or ACORN in any of the three online bios of Hamilton that I’ve read. Hamilton is widely respected, has the support of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), and is generally being talked about has having been chosen by Obama as his first nominee precisely because he’s a respected centrist.

Tomasky doesn’t really get into that. What he does get into is the question of whether or not Hamilton explicitly said mentions of Allah were okay.

So here’s where the lie comes in. Hamilton did indeed rule that Jesus Christ must not be mentioned in legislative prayers. But what did he say about Allah? It practically goes without saying that the decision doesn’t so much as mention Allah. So this is what his wing-nut critics are doing: They’re using the fact that he proscribes mentions of Jesus but does not specifically proscribe mentions of Allah to assert that he thinks mentions of Allah would be perfectly, as it were, kosher.

Um, no, actuallly. It’s kind of funny, what with all the agonies he suffered paging through Google results, that Tomasky didn’t come across this Ed Whelan item from NRO (Seventh Circuit Nominee David Hamilton: “Allah” Yes, “Jesus” No). It’s dated March 26, the same day as the blog entry that Tomasky did link to. Whelan quotes from a post-judgment ruling in which Hamilton said that mentions of “Allah” would be okay, given the larger context that the Indiana House of Representatives does not seem to be engaged in advancing Islam at the expense of other religions in the same way that the found-to-be-unconstitutional behavior was advancing Christianity.

What do I take away from this? That short of doing some in-depth research myself (which is far easier today than it has ever been before, and probably isn’t worth whining about), I really can’t trust partisans of either the right or the left not to be dicks who mislead me intentionally in order to further their respective agendas.

More than ever, quality of sources matters. Just because it’s easy to find information that supports your pre-existing bias doesn’t mean it’s right to restrict yourself to such information. For one thing, it makes it really easy for unscrupulous people to manipulate your perceptions.

Nate Silver on Obama’s Bipartisanship

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Nate Silver at talks about the flip side of my whining about Obama’s position on the state secrets privilege and torture: What Would a “Bipartisan” Obama Look Like? (Hint: A Lot Like the One We’re Seeing). From his conclusion:

What I don’t think Obama can be accused of, however, is breaking any promises. In fact, he basically telegraphed his strategy with the whole Rick Warren thing: make a show of appealing to conservatives here and there, and perhaps avoid issues that are symbolically important to the left but which drain one’s political capital, while all the while continuing to push forward the core elements of a conventionally Democratic (but hardly radical) agenda. Very little about the Administration’s strategy has been surprising.

On some level, I do wonder about that. By drawing a line in the sand with respect to state-sponsored torture, and demanding, in effect, that Obama sacrifice his effectiveness on other issues in order to take a largely symbolic stand against something abhorrent that he’s not actually engaging himself, am I being unrealistic? In the final analysis, will I be forced to acknowledge that Obama’s approach was right, and my demands, while ideologically more pure, were wrong?

I don’t actually know. But in the meantime, I’m clinging to my hatred of torture, and my whining about Obama’s protection of those in the Bush administration who perpetrated it. It’s comforting to feel some actual certainty about something, even when, as now, I’m not actually completely certain.

Wilkerson on Guantanamo

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Knarlyknight reminded me that I’d meant to post a link to this recent article by former Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson: Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay. It’s a good round-up of some of the more depressing aspects of the situation. Nothing particularly new, but it’s good to see the truth get some more attention.

I was also, perversely, kind of happy to see that Dick Cheney was making news this past weekend by bad-mouthing Obama’s (partial) retreat from the worst aspects of the Cheney-Bush anti-terrorism policies. I was happy about that because I’ve decided that what’s going on with Obama’s go-slow approach to exposing the extent of the illegality and awfulness of the Cheney-Bush torture policies is not that Obama is objectively pro-torture or anti-civil rights per se. It seems much more likely to me that Obama is as outraged by the Cheney-Bush crimes as anyone. But Obama is, above all, a pragmatist. He knows that the Republican political strategy is to make as much heat and light about any perceived attack on the previous administration as they can. Any exposure by Obama of war crimes committed by Cheney and Bush can be spun by the Republican machine as Bush Derangement Syndrome. “Oh, that Socialist, terrorist-loving Obama!” we’ll hear 24/7 from Rush and Fox News. So it’s in Obama’s political interest to downplay that stuff. It doesn’t do him any good, politically speaking, to expose what a bunch of bastards the previous administration was.

Bush has been playing it smart, acting low-key on this stuff. But no one ever accused Cheney of playing things smart and low-key. He’s been going after Obama with both barrels. Which I think is great: I hope it works. I hope Gibbs and Obama get peppered with questions at every news conference about whether the administration is, in fact, soft on terrorism, whether they are, in fact, letting hardened killers (who Cheney and Bush had quite rightly been keeping bottled up in Guantanamo) back on the streets, where they can kill Americans.

Because that’s the only way I can see that Obama could be put in the position where it’s in his political interest to come out with the truth about Guantanamo. If Cheney is going to come after him anyway, and try to paint Obama as soft on terrorism, then Obama would have an incentive to explain to the public just how awful the previous administration had been.

Maybe that’s naive of me. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Timothy Cole Exonerated — Ten Years After His Death in Prison

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

There are some rolls of the cosmic dice that really suck. Like being a black man accused of raping a white woman in Texas.

A case in point:

Some facts about Timothy Cole’s case that seem significant to me:

  • Michelle Malin, the rape victim, picked Cole out of a photo lineup, and identified him as the rapist again at the trial. Apparently that was good enough for Texas.
  • Cole steadfastly asserted his innocence. He did so even when offered a plea deal that would have given him probation, rather than a prison sentence. He did so after his conviction and incarceration, during annual parole hearings, when acknowledging guilt and expressing remorse could have led to his being paroled. He did so for fourteen years, until he died in prison from complications of asthma in 1999.
  • Jerry Wayne Johnson, the person DNA testing eventually proved had been the actual rapist, attempted to confess to the crime as early as 1995 — four years before Cole’s death. The authorities apparently weren’t interested in his story.

Sigh. That DNA testing came along and exposed a whole raft of injustices like this was unexpected. But from a scientific standpoint, it’s a golden opportunity. We’ve been given a chance to check a subset of our answers in the back of the book, and draw meaningful conclusions about the reliability of our other, unchecked answers.

A smart person would take advantage of that opportunity. A good person would view it as an ethical obligation, given what it says about the innocent people we are fining, imprisoning, and (especially) executing. A less-smart, less-good person would view it as being of passing, anecdotal interest, maybe, and then go back to surfing the Web.

What sort of people are we? What sort of person am I?

Good question.

Hilzoy on Obama’s Affirmative Obligation re: Torture

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

What Hilzoy said: Some facts for Obama to consider.

“The president has determined that they are ALL enemy combatants.”

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

That quote from Cheney staff director David Addington, as reported in a new book detailing administration terrorism policies. The WaPo also says:

The classified CIA report described by Mayer was prepared in the summer of 2002 by a senior CIA analyst who was invited to the prison camp in Cuba to help Defense Department officials grapple with a major problem: They were gleaning very little useful information from the roughly 600 detainees in custody at the time. After a study involving dozens of detainees, the analyst came up with an answer: A large fraction of them “had no connection with terrorism whatsoever,” Mayer writes, citing officials familiar with the report. Many were essentially bystanders who had been swept up in dragnets or turned over to the U.S. military by bounty hunters.

And that’s one of the conservative estimates.

Guantanamo is a carefully crafted loophole in the constitutional limits on presidential power, and a carefully crafted exercise in managing public perception. It is a national dungeon, where the President’s determination of guilt is the only rule. The law upholds it because it must, the congress accepts it because it’s too politically easy to ignore it, and the public accepts it because it seems just far enough away to be less important than the numbers on the gas station marquee.

Greenwald on Mayer on Torture

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

So, is Glenn Greenwald a shrill, Leftist hysteric?


Drum on the FISA “Compromise”

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Apologies, again, for being AWOL lately, and thanks to ymatt for taking up some of the slack. My latest obsession (working on an entry for this contest with my daughter) should be over in a week or so, at least, since that’s the deadline for contest entries.

In the meantime, I’ve been interested in some of the bloggy meta-chatter surrounding the FISA “compromise” bill, and Obama’s support of it, and his explanation for why he’s done so, and the back and forth among supporters of Obama between those who support that decision and those who don’t. But the most interesting thing I’ve read about it lately is this piece from Kevin Drum: The FISA compromise.

In the end, everyone seems to have decided that bulk monitoring of electronic communications is OK, and that the new bill provides adequate oversight and minimization procedures. I’m not so sure myself, since I don’t trust procedures like this to stay robust. In any case, I’d say this is the core issue, not telecom immunity, and it deserves more attention. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get it.

Leveling Charges

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

ethan-p asked me to post the plain text (or pdf in this case) of Dennis Kucinich’s impeachment charges against George Bush. He adds, “he would have had me if he’d stopped after IV”, although I think I might be less generous.

The Smoking Gun on James Sabatino’s LA Times Con

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

No time to obsess right now, but this was too much in the sweet spot for me to pass it up. From The Smoking Gun, a story about how imprisoned con-man James Sabatino apparently gamed the LA Times into reporting fabricated news: Big Phat Liar.

MARCH 26–Last week’s bombshell Los Angeles Times report claiming that the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur in the lobby of a Manhattan recording studio was carried out by associates of Sean “Diddy” Combs and that the rap impresario knew of the plot beforehand was based largely on fabricated FBI reports, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The Times appears to have been hoaxed by an imprisoned con man and accomplished document forger, an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries, conducted business with Combs, Shakur, Busta Rhymes, and The Notorious B.I.G., and even served as Combs’s trusted emissary to Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight during the outset of hostilities in the bloody East Coast-West Coast rap feud.

Latest Signing Statement Flouts Reason and Law

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

In signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008 into law, President Bush issued a signing statement stating that he would not enforce four sections of the law, citing that they would “inhibit the president’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations”. These sections were:

  • Forbidding use of taxpayer money to build permanent military bases in Iraq
  • Strengthening protections for whistle-blowers within government contractors
  • Requiring intelligence agencies respond to Congressional requests for information within 45 days
  • Establishment of a “Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan” to investigate contractor wrong-doing

All four of these seem to me imminently reasonable — necessary even — things to put into law, and I find it outrageous that the President would refuse to execute them. But setting that aside, I’d like to look at the legality of this signing statement from a couple points of view.

First, some would argue that the division of war-related powers between Congress and the President are unclear, so it is within reason for the President to assert that these would unconstitutionally limit his powers. If you take that point of view however, the correct response would be for the President to either veto the bill, or sign it and challenge the sections he believes unconstitutional in court. Of course he won’t do this because he wants to sign the bill to get the bits he wants, and I suspect he refuses to take his challenge to court because he fears he would lose; I certainly believe he would, as the above provisions seem well within Congress’ funding and oversight powers to me. The President is essentially exercising powers reserved for the Supreme Court by making judgments on constitutionality, and it is this Congress’ responsibility to check him.

Second, some would argue that signing statements are an executive tool with a historical precedent, used when the President’s duty to the Constitution runs afoul of Congress’ wishes, and so it is reasonable for the President to use this tool. If you take this point of view however, then even as the President suspends execution of the law, I believe it is again his responsibility to immediately take his challenge to the courts to ensure he himself is acting constitutionally. Since he is not (again I believe for the same reasons stated above), then it falls to the Congress to check him.

Both arguments lead to one conclusion: when the Executive branch is actively avoiding legal rulings on policies being pursued (as they have repeatedly done — here, as well as in cases such as FISA), the only Constitutional recourse is impeachment, and I mean this is a very concrete legal sense, not an “impeach the bastard!” sense.

So to get back to the topic at hand, can anybody defend Bush refusing to execute sections of law that I believe most people would agree make sense, and supporting this refusal on very questionable legal grounds? I certainly can’t, and Congress should be ashamed for running out the clock rather than doing their job.

Philosoraptor on McGovern on Impeachment

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

I still like Philosoraptor, even if he’s a bit too rah-rah about blowing things up for my taste sometimes. But I really enjoyed reading his take on the recent McGovern article calling for Bush to be impeached: McGovern: Impeach Bush.

It’s always struck me as peculiar that the very people who have the most pronounced tendency to wave the flag and extol the virtues of America also seem to have the least actual respect for the Constitution and the institutions of our government. That brand of patriotism–if patriotism it even is–is of a tribalistic, sophomoric variety. Actual patriotism, however, requires a commitment to the principles of the Consitution, and an ability to take an objective view of matters of this kind by transcending partisan commitments. There may be legal arguments that show that impeachment is not, in fact, called for, but if those arguments exist they have not been made public. From the perspective of the well-informed layperson, given the available evidence and arguments, impeachment must at least be seriously considered.