20 April 2009

Impeach Bybee

Allow me to add my voice to the chorus calling for the impeachment of Federal Circuit Court Justice Jay Bybee (Ninth Circuit). Anyone who can write a specious rationalization like his torture memo should be disbarred, still less be allowed to continue as a jurist for life.

There are things in law that are close questions, and debatable; i.e., opinion could go either way. This isn't one of them. Bybee, along with John Yoo and Steven Bradbury, have shamed American jurisprudence by writing such twisted concoctions as this and similar memos, designed to please their masters, whose anti-constitutional goals of justifying extrajudicial imprisonment and torture were so obviously illegal (under both U.S. and binding International Law). The illegality of torture, whether acknowledged or rationalized as "merely" "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment", and the fact that what these memos describe as permissible is torture, are not in any sense close questions. By justifying these actions, these lawyers have undermined the most basic principles of law, which require that it be rational and that it respect the intent of the law being interpreted and applied. These memos attempt to twist and subvert the law so nefariously that they can only be described (ironically) as tortuous. They are so far outside acceptable legal reasoning that their authors should not be permitted to continue as lawyers at all. The inference that they acted out of improper motives is inescapable.

These men have brought dishonor upon our nation--dishonor which it will take quite some time for us to live down. If such is not sufficient to justify impeachment of a judge, I cannot imagine what would be. As Bybee is a justice in the Circuit for my state, I am particularly galled that he continues to sit on the bench.

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