Wednesday, February 01, 2006

honest conservative lawyers

Yes, there ARE conservative lawyers with a conscience and a sense of what is right and wrong. Some of them even served in the de facto Bush Administration, as Newsweek reports. But many have encountered difficulties... for the anti-Bushism crime of intellectual honesty.
These Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror. Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia. Some went so far as to line up private lawyers in 2004, anticipating that the president's eavesdropping program would draw scrutiny from Congress, if not prosecutors. These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men.
These were the guys who were not pet lawyers, who refused to happily roll over and bark when asked by Bush/Cheney, not guys like David Addington and John Yoo who found the legal justification, no matter how tortured, for the President's illegal desires on torture and surveillance. These weren't civil servants either -- they were political appointee lawyers, just like Addington and Yoo and Alberto "The Torturer" Gonzales.