January 30th, 2010

No professional misconduct for the lawyers in Bush’s Justice Department?

One of the worst decisions the Obama administration has made (and that’s saying something) was to go after lawyers Bybee and Yoo, who did the research and made the recommendations that allowed waterboarding under certain circumscribed circumstances.

It appears, however, that the blow is about to be been softened:

Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

When asked, the Justice Department denied that Margolis did this at the request of Holder. It is said that he acted on his own.

I wonder. If Margolis was in fact responding to directions from the higher-ups, my guess would be that at this point the Obama administration is afraid that Obama’s successor could do the same sort of thing to Holder and company, after the terrible judgment they have exhibited, both in the KSM decisions and the chaos at Justice revealed by the Christmas bomber hearings.

5 Responses to “No professional misconduct for the lawyers in Bush’s Justice Department?”

  1. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    This issue has been potentially explosive since the day that the hard left began attacking the Bush administration for their various policies and strategies to combat Islamist terrorism. If the left was successful in inditing or bringing legal action against these individuals, no future President or member of his administration could formulate any defense policy without worrying that someone, somewhere could bring criminal charges against them because of their judgment. This would trickle down to the military as well. No commanding officer could make a decision without being lawyered up.

    The proper thing for the left to do was to show that laws were violated and bring a writ of impeachment against Bush. They could not do that, but that didn’t stop them from trying to turn policy decisions, reached after due deliberation, into crimes. Just over the top vindictiveness by the left.

  2. Kae Arby Says:

    my guess would be that at this point the Obama administration is afraid that Obama’s successor could do the same sort of thing to Holder and company

    I think there’s something else at play here. If the justice department continued along this path, eventually Both Bybee and Yoo would end up with “their day in court,” whether it’s some form of bar review or impeachment proceedings, where they would stand a chance of being exonerated. Walking this back means that the administration can still damn Bybee and Yoo without having to back anything up.

    Think about the Human Rights Tribunal ruling against Mark Steyn last year(?)


  3. Bill West Says:

    The Athenian navy defeated the Spartans at the Battle of Arginusae, which could have been an important step in deciding the Peloponnesian War in Athens’ favor.

    The commanders decided to divide the fleet, with half pursuing the fleeing spartans and the other half rescuing Athenian sailors in the water. A storm arose, breaking off the pursuit and resulting in the loss of hundreds of sailors.

    Athens was celebrating the victory, having been told by messengers, when the fleet returned to port. Within the continual rancour that was political Athens, one faction seized the moment and accused the generals of deriliction of duty, resulting the the needless deaths of so many citizens.

    Six of Athens; most capable military leaders were tried, convicted and executed. From a distance, Spartan commander Lysander wondered why Athens would inflict such a blow upon itself. His puzzlement didn’t stop him from prosecuting the war from there forward. Within a short time Sparta defeated Athens and ended democracy as we have always admired it.

    The current administration consists of the acolytes of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and others who truly believe that the Ameican culture deserves a reckoning, even if their mentors phrase it as Rev. Wright did, that the “chickens have come home to roost.”

    The people sworn to protect us believe that we deserve a beating.

  4. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    “The people sworn to protect us believe that we deserve a beating.” Very well put.

    In the subtleties of manipulation both speculations about the decision to soften may be true. Holder could well have intimated that Margolis “needn’t to go heavy for our sake.” A wink’s as good as a nod, y’know.

  5. anon Says:

    So what will happen to all those lawyers who advocated for, and the doctors who murdered the unborn … um … performed ‘abortions’ … when public sentiment changes to an understanding that, in the vast majority of cases, terminating a fetus as a ‘life style choice’
    IS murder?


    Go after true patriots like like Bybee and Yoo.

    They had best remember there is no statue of limitations on murder or the advocacy or abetting of same. Which might be why the liberals are so insistent that prisoners have a soft time in jail.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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