Saturday, May 19, 2007


They both have demeaned the legal profession. A huge billboard in Chicago's nightclub district proclaims: "Life's short. Get a divorce" It features photographs of "a sexy, scantily clad woman on one side and a buff, bare-chested man on the other". (NYTimes 5/13/07) No matter what the message or the motive of the messenger, no one can dispute the right of the lawyer to offer her wares in this fashion. It has met with considerable success. As with the Attorney General, apparently all things are to be judged by whether or not they are working, not whether they are right or wrong. Illegal wiretapping, secret prisons, torture, unlawful detentions, political firings of U.S. attorneys, suspension of habeas corpus, rejection of the Geneva Convention, and undoubtedly a host of other conduct yet to be revealed (such as a coercive hospital visit to the previous Attorney General seeking approval of an illegal wiretapping scheme) are all justified on the basis that no further attacks have occured since 9/11. Ergo, these tactics, like the billboard poster, are working, The only difference being that encouraging divorce is not illegal or unconstitutional, although in this administration it might be one day.

As to the firings of the U.S. attorneys, nothing infuriates me more than the party line that these are political appointments, and the President, as did President Clinton, can replace them all. Yes, these appointments are political as are those to the courts, but once appointed, U.S. Attorneys, Judges and Justices cease to be political agents. To do otherwise violates their oath of office. Prosecutors should not be dismissed for pursuing criminal conduct by members of the party in power or failing to pursue actions for the sole purpose of embarrassing the opposition and affecting the outcome of elections. Justice is not meant to be used as a political weapon.

So look for a billboard with that infamous picture of the hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib on one side and a smiling picture of the Attorney General on the other saying: "Stop Terror. Torture Works", because there is little that the current Attorney General does not have in common with the sleazy divorce lawyer.

1 comment:

HoosierDaddy said...

I remember, not that long ago, we used to criticize the Russians for the horrors of the Lubyanka and the Siberian camps. Widespread wiretapping and other forms of spying on citizens were seen as the desperate efforts of illegitimate rulers to cling to power. Now these tools of terror are seen as good and to criticize the descent of the country into darkness is unpatriotic. How times have changed.

Of course, I remember when conservatives were afraid of big government. Now, as long as it promises to make us safe, Leviathan is more than welcome in the Big Tent.