Monday, July 02, 2007

It's Official: Bush & Co. Are Above the Law

Clearly that joke occupying the White House believes that he and his are above the law. To commute the sentence for Libby, before he even served a single day, is the most transparent of capitulations to his overlord, the Vice President. As Josh Marshall points out, this action breaks with the DOJ's own recommendations:

Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding.
Senataor Joe Biden has encouraged all Americans to call the White House (202-456-1111) to let Mr. Bush know that we remember what he said when he was inaugurated:

Remind George Bush what he told staffers during a swearing in ceremony for White House staff back in January 2001:

"[We] must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, double- checking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules. No one in the White House should be afraid to confront the people they work for, for ethical concerns, and no one should hesitate to confront me as well. We are all accountable to one another. And above all, we are all accountable to the law and to the American people."

It's past time to get angry. It's time to act. Call the White House...let them know, Scooter's no better than Paris. He did the crime, he should serve the time. Otherwise, we are truly lost.

UPDATE: The arguments in favor of Bush's disgusting actions center on the assertion that somehow none of this matters because Libby's trial was all about Lefties trying to get at the President. Don't you believe it for a moment. From Orin Kerr:

The Scooter Libby case has triggered some very weird commentary around the blogosphere; perhaps the weirdest claim is that the case against Libby was "purely political." I find this argument seriously bizarre.

As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

I find this claim bizarre. I'm open to arguments that parts of the case against Libby were unfair. But for the case to have been purely political, doesn't that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee?



Anonymous Todd W. said...

The hypocrisy on all sides is galling, but, sadly, not surprising. On the Republican side, the claims that Libby's prosecution was politically motivated and the perjury was not serious all smack of the same sorts of defenses the Democrats put up for Bill Clinton's perjury. On the Democratic side, stamping of feet and moralizing about the rule of law were all but absent 10 years ago under similar circumstances. In both cases, it's clear that even handed clear thinking statesmen who adhere to principles and not party loyalties are in short supply.

7/03/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the phone number of the White House. I've been calling all morning but the number is busy. Never have I been so happy to get a busy signal. So glad I have lots of company. I hope those phone lines are frying.

7/03/2007 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The hypocrisy is galling, but I recall feeling it was unfair to remove Clinton from office for a lie he told that dealt with a personal indiscretion, so I guess I get it on some level.

Rationally, however, I feel the difference is significant in that Libby told lies that dealt with the suspected outing of a CIA agent. One is more understandable in human terms than the other, no?

Even if you buy into the "victimless crime" meme or the idea that there was no crime (and just because Fitzgerald didn't indict anyone for outing Plame doesn't mean there was no crime here), the idea that with matters of national security it's OK to lie under oath makes such a mockery of the entire Justice system we'll see petty criminals for eons now demanding to get the Libby considerations. Consider this irony, from Bush's conservative court:

The Supreme Court made it harder Thursday for most defendants to challenge their federal prison sentences.
Appeals courts that review prison terms imposed by trial judges may deem them reasonable if they fall within federal sentencing guidelines adopted in the mid-1980s, the high court said.

The justices upheld a 33-month sentence given to Victor Rita for perjury and making false statements. Rita is a 25-year military veteran and former civilian federal employee.

The prison term falls within the guidelines range and was upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, posing the question of whether sentences within the guidelines ordinarily will be considered reasonable.

For the President to say Libby's sentence was excessive opens the floodgates for all kinds of other convicted criminals to waste court time (and our tax dollars) with appeals based on this precedent.

The man is a walking national disaster.

7/03/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about shock and awe. When's the Libby Medal of Freedom presentation?

7/03/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Nice post, Ed, but you don't really think the white house is interested in anything we have to say? Yes, the complaint line is busy, busy, busy. The staffers probably just took it off the hook. BTW, the line is only open 9-5, M-F--that is, it's only off the hook those hours. The rest of the time you'll get a recording that says something like, "The president wants to hear your opinion, please call back...."
There's no voice mail available.
But of course those messages would just be erased anyway.

The guy ignored guidelines for commutation in letting Paris, er, Scooter off, and the larger picture is that he's ignoring the will of the American people in continuing his war, so, really, do you think anyone at the white house is going to be taking our calls? Or listening to them?

7/03/2007 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Nice post, Ed, but you don't really think the white house is interested in anything we have to say?

As in all things like this, it's not the individual voice, per se, but the volume of calls that will make an impact. If folks get angry enough to keep calling and calling, the White House will know we're upset. There are other plans brewing, I understand, including a march in DC on Sept 15, but don't let a busy signal deter you. I haven't gotten through yet either, but that's not going to stop me from letting them know I'm offended by this as a citizen who expects the law to be applied equally to all citizens. It' not a matter of presidential privelege either (Clinton handed out some disgusting pardons). It's a matter of the straw breaking the camel's back. Bush proving that the law doesn't apply to him or his people even before the appeals have run their course. It's shameful, transparent, and unacceptable.

7/03/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous JEC said...

I agree with Joanne--Bush could give a s*#t what we think, or what anyone thinks, for that matter. Remember, he's the decider, and he gets to decide what to do.

Rather than call the White House, maybe we should all be calling our members of Congress and pushing them to take a harder stand against this Administration (take your pick of action items--there are so, so many to choose from).

7/03/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous ml said...

I think we should all mail the White House a banana. Under Bush, we are now a banana republic.

7/03/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Food for thought: Here's Joshua Micah Marshall's blog post from March 1, 2001 (six months before Sept 11), about Libby's involvement in the Marc Rich pardon. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

7/05/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of whether George W. Bush and/or Bush officials are “above the law”: I just thought I would mention that Bush allegedly used an African-American woman as his sex slave—considering himself above the law.

“A woman in Texas who filed a lawsuit against the president for rape and torture[,] [Margie Schoedinger,] was found shot to death. It was ruled a suicide. No one is investigating. Bush reportedly dated the woman in high school and speculation is that he was using the woman as his sex slave because he is above the law” (John Kaminski (author of “America’s Autopsy Report,” a collection of his Internet essays published on hundreds of websites around the world). (No date listed). Why We Need Martial Law . . . Criminal government is destroying America; military must step in to restore Constitution. Retrieved December 10, 2008—material from

Bush allegedly murdered this African-American woman.

I think Bush should not be above the law.

Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
Messiah College, Grantham, PA
Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

12/11/2008 05:28:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home