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Get thee to a monastery

The Washington Post produces a hit-piece against John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer who wrote a number of controversial memos defending the president’s power to take various actions to combat terrorism. Peter Slevin seems astonished that, having had the audacity to take positions with which liberals and some moderates disagree, Yoo is defending these positions instead of doing penitence. Thus, the headine of the story is “Scholar Stands By Post-9/11 Writings On Torture, Domestic Eavesdropping.” But why wouldn’t he? Slevin never attempts to show that these positions are wrong, let along indefensible. He does assert that unidentified “constitutional scholars” have “skewered” Yoo’s reasoning. But absent any discussion of that reasoning or the arguments lodged against it, this amounts to cheerleading on the Post’s part.

In the same vein, Slevin writes,

Yoo has alienated so many influential opponents that he is considered uncomfirmable for a judgeship or high office. . .Yet Yoo. . .can be found at seminars and radio microphones standing up for Bush administration legal arguments that will be studied for decades.

Again, is Yoo supposed to hide from the public because he has “alienated influential opponents?” Sounds like a liberal fantasy to me.

By the way, did the Washington Post write any pieces wondering how Clinton administration attorneys who came up with unsuccessful argument after unsuccessful argument in favor of Clinton’s assertions of executive power — in the name of concealing Clinton’s misconduct and perjury — had the gall to defend their positions in public? I don’t recall any.

And speaking of Clinton administration attorneys, Cliff May reminds us that one such lawyer, John Schmidt, recently wrote that the Bush administration’s understanding of the law relating to warrantless searches is identical with that of the Clinton administration – and previous presidents going back to Jimmy Carter. And Mark Levin attacks the Post’s premise that the Bush administration has pursued “the most dramatic assertion of White House power since the Nixon era.” Levin argues that the Clinton administration claimed more power than either the Bush or Nixon administrations. And, again, the Clinton administration’s claims were asserted to protect Bill Clinton, not the United States of America.

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