Bush to judiciary: Fu*k off
This should be interesting. I actually find myself optimistic about how the federal courts will respond to a Bush, Inc. outrage. As regular café visitors know, I almost never feel that way. The federal judiciary isn’t just stuffed to the bursting point with right wing ideologues: it’s stuffed to the bursting point with right wing ideologues who think like political operatives.
Yet, in the case of the Bush Administration’s wrongdoing in ignoring the orders of at least two federal courts to not destroy evidence of “enhanced” interrogation techniques (a.k.a. torture), I find myself surprisingly hopeful. Contrary to my usual skepticism, I doubt the courts will buy into the administration’s disingenuous loophole that, “hey, these guys weren’t even covered by the courts’ orders because they weren’t in Cuba, we had them hidden somewhere else.” Why do I feel that way?
I said it in a post a few days ago. “It’s not nice to fool Mother Justice”:
You can take my word for it as a trial lawyer — judges — even ultraconservative judges — don’t like it when litigants screw with them. It’s always a bad idea to lie to a judge, especially if you’re eventually going to get caught doing it. But it may be an even worse idea to try to come up with a clever dodge that allows you to lie to the judge (or flaunt his or her rulings) in substance, while leaving yourself a disingenuous loophole.
I went on to argue that the Bush Administration’s smartest move would be to drop this tack altogether. Better to plead mistake or throw some lower level employee to the wolves. Well, based on their recent court filing, we now know what their strategy is: and not only are they going full-bore with their loophole argument, they’re doing so in a particularly patronizing and dismissive fashion.
(AP) Judge urged not to ask about CIA tapes
The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes’ destruction.
In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.
It was the first time the government had addressed the issue of the videotapes in court.
Kennedy ordered the administration in June 2005 to safeguard “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.”
Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Government lawyers told Kennedy the tapes were not covered by his court order because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not at the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba. The men were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes had been destroyed.
There’s an old joke about federal judges: Saint Peter, speaking to an angel, said “I’m starting to worry a little about God. He seems to be getting an awfully big head.’
“Really?” the angel replied.
“Yeah, he’s starting to act like he thinks he’s a federal judge.”
Time will tell, of course, but I’m guessing that the federal courts won’t respond well at all to the Bush Administration’s dismissive attitude. These may be primarily conservative Republican federal judges, but they’re still federal judges.
And federal judges don’t like it when people tell them to fu*k off.
December 15th, 2007 at 4:20 pm
Steve, I wish I shared your faith in the judiciary. I’m going to try to be more optimistic though because you are in a better position than I to know the mind of a judge. I know they are sworn to uphold the Constitution and, with all my heart, I hope they don’t take that lightly.
I just expect that bush and cheney will usurp powers and abuse justice at will and no one will stop them. What will stop them from ignoring court orders or congressional orders? I mean, who will enforce ANY decision made by any court of law that is contrary to the desires of bushco? Who?
December 15th, 2007 at 9:14 pm
This is an elected dictatorship! Why would anyone care about the supposedly other branches of government? Who is taking lessons from whom: Musharraf Sharif or Bush?
O.K., there’s my cynical side coming out again. Damn! I thought I had that locked in a closet somewhere.
December 15th, 2007 at 10:11 pm
As an act of repentance for my last diatribe, let me offer this completely unrelated story:
I used to live in Seattle. There is a place there called Harbor Island. Mostly ship-building and repairs at that time. I worked in a small shop a few mile south from there. One of my duties was to every Thursday go to a little Cafe on Harbor Island called “The O.K. Lunch”. to pick up a bunch of those delicious home-mad scones and take them to the headquarters’ group. So (one Thursday I was having a late breakfast/early lunch while I waited for the scones to come out of the oven.
“Why is this cafe called the ‘O.K.’ cafe when everything is excellent?”
Well, and this is the whole truth as I remember it, it was started in the early 1900’s when the ship-yards were booming by Annie Oakley and Anna Karenina. Annie had gotten over her affair with Bill Cody and moved on and ended up here. Anna got tired of the winter cold In Russia- and got over that Vronsky thing-and ended up here too. Somehow they met and decided to start the cafe. Well they decided Annie’s & Anna’s didn’t sound right , so they opted for the first initials of their last names. O and K.
They both married other men and now the cafe is run by there daughters and grand daughters.
(Well it was then, but that was 30 years ago. It’s gone now.)
December 15th, 2007 at 10:21 pm
I hope you are correct also. Last year when Trent Lott became Minority #2 man in the Senate. I thought we would see some getting even. However it looks like somebody got to him first. I am boggled by the power Bush & Co. throw around. Here we have a 32 precenter doing anything they wish.
December 16th, 2007 at 1:04 am
Please excuse the grammatical etc. errors on the above repentance story. I had a little argument with the table saw and it won, so I have to make do without the fore-finger on my typing hand for a while, so must use my middle finger.
Rather appropriate for the Bushies though. (The middle finger I mean.)
December 16th, 2007 at 1:30 am
Steve, I hope you are 100% correct. It would certainly lift my gloom. It would show that there is still some respect for the law. It would show that Dubya and Dick have to obey the law, even though they have spent 7 years disregarding it. It would show that judges actually have some integrity left, even if they are rightwingers. Unfortunately, I do not trust such a decent thing to happen in the current vile and poisonous atmosphere. But, do I hope for it? You bet.
December 16th, 2007 at 7:31 pm
Oops! Had the wrong Musharraf, I meant Pervez. I don’t expect there’s much difference between the two though.