2 comments December 20th, 2008at 09:18pm Posted by Eli
Lawyers speak out, but is anyone listening?
Inspired by the Pakistan Lawyer Protest against President Pervez Musharraf’s attempt to hold onto power after the 2007 Pakistani election, over 1300 American lawyers and law students signed this request to Rep. Conyers and Sen. Leahy urging them to defend the rule of law and uphold the US Constitution against the egregious abuses of the Bush Administration. The group is known as The American Freedom Campaign.
Abuses include but are not limited to: torture, extraordinary renditions, warrantless wiretapping, jailing without habeas corpus, and the destruction of evidence such as the CIA interrogation videotapes and five million White House e-mails.
Bruce Fein, Mario Cuomo, Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department ethics lawyer, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, and AFC’s Steven Fox are among the participating lawyers.
Message to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy from American Lawyers Defending the Constitution
We are lawyers and law students in the United States of America. As such, we have all taken (or will be taking) an oath obligating us to defend the Constitution and the rule of law from those who would violate and subvert them, and to hold wrongdoers accountable.
We believe the Bush administration has committed numerous offenses against the Constitution and may have violated federal laws. Evidence exists that it has illegally spied on Americans, tortured and abused men and women in its direct custody, sent others to be tortured by countries like Syria and Egypt, and kept people in prison indefinitely with no chance to challenge the bases of their detention. Moreover, the administration has blatantly defied congressional subpoenas, obstructing constitutional oversight of the executive branch.
Thus, we call on House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to launch hearings into the possibility that crimes have been committed by this administration in violation of the Constitution, federal statutes, and international treaties. We call for the investigations to go where they must, including into the offices of the President and the Vice President. Should these hearings demonstrate that laws have in fact been broken by this administration, we support all such legal and congressional actions necessary to ensure the survival of our Constitution and the nation we love.
If you are a lawyer or law student, sign here
Conyers and Leahy have had two years to to work on this, and they haven’t made a whole lot of progress. I guess it depends on whether the Obama administration can and will brush away BushCo’s stonewalls, or if they urge Congress to let bygones be bygones.
Needless to say, the let’s-not-dwell-on-the-past approach would be a terrible mistake. These criminals should not be free to trample the laws again, and future criminals should not be encouraged to emulate them. Come on, guys, let’s show some commitment to the rule of law. None of this scared-of-your-own-shadow, keep-the-powder-dry, can’t-we-all-just-go-along-to-get-along crap.