What We Say It Is

Something else that fails to shock:

Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) wanted some clarity during his questioning. Was the attorney general really saying that anyone who acted pursuant to a Justice Department legal opinion was “insulated from criminal liability?”

Mukasey wanted to say it more carefully. “I think what I said was that we could not investigate or prosecute somebody for acting in reliance on a Justice Department opinion.”

But even if that opinion was “inaccurate,” Delahunt wondered, and that behavior really did violate the U.S. criminal code, you’re saying that someone who relied on it would effectively have “immunity from any culpability?”

“Justified reliance,” Mukasey answered, “could not be the subject of a prosecution.” Simple as that. “Immunity connotes culpability,” he added, so it wasn’t immunity, exactly, but the effect was the same.

Delahunt (much like Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) in the last hearing) proclaimed himself baffled. This was a “new legal doctrine” for him. He’d thought “the law is the law.”

The quick take, of course, is that they’re making me miss John Ashcroft with a fierceness previously reserved only for Cadbury Eggs in December or figgy pudding in July. Who’d have thought that nasty old fucker would prove to be one of the more principled members of the Bush administration? It’s a pretty low bar, I’ll admit, but even so.

The law is the law. How pathetic. How quaint. Howpredictable; I keep saying it but it doesn’t get less true: They have been at this for YEARS, and only now are we starting to freak out about it. And our primary reaction is bafflement; it’s confusing, it’s not like they’re just doing something that’s, well, rude. It’s that they’ve gone so far over the edge as to say the world we live in, structured as we know it, does not exist. The reality-based community; it’s been a joke for a while, but do we realize, yet, how funny it isn’t? You show them a banana and it’s not like they say it’s an apple, it’s like they pat you on the head and say “Good doggie.” I mean, it makes no sense. They have been at this for YEARS and we’re still so fucking bumfuzzled by it we’re grasping for a response. The official we, anyway, the Democratic Party we, the US Senate/House we.

Me, I would like to seeCongress issue its own arrest warrants and drag these people to jail on national television, because the law isn’t what you say it is, the law is the law, and if you break it, you get your ass handcuffed, and that’s how it works in the NBA.



12 thoughts on “What We Say It Is

  1. So if I ask my lawyer if robbing a bank is OK and my lawyer answers “Yes”…
    Bonnie and Clyde move over!

  2. Actually, Maple, as I understand it, it wouldn’t be your lawyer. You’d have to ask for an official Justice Department legal opinion.
    My guess is that would actually make it much easier for you to obtain. I bet your lawyer has principles.

  3. And the Dems in Congress consented to Mukasey’s nomination as AG because of his “intelligence” and “competence”?
    “Incompetent” is more like it.
    Just shows how out of touch with “true American values” (law and justice) the Republican hypocrites are. . .and it’s frightening.

  4. OK. I realize the Constitution prohibits a religious test for those seeking office, but is there any way we could require candidates and their appointees to pass a civics test?

  5. THe recent earthquake was not caused by the Madrid fault; it was caused by our founding fathers spinning in their graves, a motion powerful enough to move the crust of the earth in the midwest.

  6. “Justified reliance,” Mukasey answered, “could not be the subject of a prosecution.”
    you didn’t see that coming? methinks firstdraft needs glasses …

  7. Ok, “I was only following orders” isn’t *exactly* the same as “I was only acting under the bounds of ‘legal opinion'”, but isn’t this essentially the Nuremberg Defense?

  8. Late to the party (story of my life these days), but Robert Earle, that is *exactly* what I thought the moment I read this. So if a drug dealer got a legal opinion that his drug dealing wasn’t criminal, would Mukasey refuse to prosecute him? If your friends told you jumping off a cliff was legal, would you do it?
    Jeebus. Dude, breaking the law connotes CRIMINALITY.

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