Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 29, 2007

DUMBEST. LEGAL ARGUMENTS. EVER....I'm usually one to skip year-end Top 10 lists, but Slate's Dahlia Lithwick has arguably written the best one of the season: "The Bush Administration's Top 10 Stupidest Legal Arguments of 2007."

Most reasonable people who take the law seriously would be humiliated by any of one of these legal assertions, but the president's lawyers not only made all of these absurd arguments, they did so in just the last 12 months.

The list is a cornucopia of greatest hits, including gems such as "The NSA's eavesdropping was limited in scope," "The vice president's office is not a part of the executive branch," "Water-boarding may not be torture," and my personal favorite, "Everyone who has ever spoken to the president about anything is barred from congressional testimony by executive privilege."

Take a look.

Steve Benen 6:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Heard another dumb one today:

Cheney can't be impeached because he wasn't elected and only elected officials can be impeached.

Posted by: slanted tom on December 29, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I read it previously, and it is well worth a read. Dahlia Lithwick is one of the only reasons Slate is worth checking in on at all. The less said about Dickerson and Mickey, the better, though Fred Kaplan is worth reading. Lithwick should appear there more frequently, or better yet, get her own gig.

Posted by: Jeff S. on December 29, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

These all make sense once you realize that 9/11 changed everything, and made Cheney King.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 29, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hopefully the NY Times fires Kristol before his first column hits the pages and hires Lithwick to replace him/it/whatever. I can't imagine anything short of that getting me to buy the paper again anytime soon.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 29, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if chicounsel drafted any of them.

Posted by: DJ on December 29, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

9/11 changed everything, and made Cheney King.

The only law in this country for the past six years is, and hs been, Quod rex vult, lex fit.

And George ain't the rex....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 29, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, *we* think those legal arguments are dumb, but which Justices of the Supreme Court are going to think they're dumb? That's what really matters ...

Posted by: Neil B. on December 29, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

It is a good list, but the dumbest thing is that these arguments weren't more widely received with the derision they deserved in the MSM.

Posted by: AJ on December 29, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Boy. The lack of respect for G_d and Country that's expressed at this website astound me.

I often wonder what makes liberals so ravenously anti-American. I guess it's just a desperate need for attention. Funny thing is, the second they feel any danger, their the first to hide behind the protections of the US government.

Posted by: egbert on December 29, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Egbert is too stupid to differentiate Kevin Drum from Steve Benen.

Posted by: DJ on December 29, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it Republicans find our Constitution so lacking?

Posted by: r on December 29, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think egbert needs to join Ratbert as a member of the external brain-pack community. Tying himself to a slab of liver could double or triple egbert's I.Q.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 29, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

question for ya, eggie old chap...who is this god of yours that you fear him so much that you can't even say his name?

Do you worship Voldemort???

Funny thing is, the second they feel any danger, their the first to hide behind the protections of the US government.

The only danger I sense right now is emanating from the government - Specifically, the criminal enterprise passing itself off as a presidency (and doing a piss poor job of hiding it these days.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 29, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

you know I went today to the Annie Liebovitz exhibit at the corcoran which includes her portrait of the administration for vanity fair in 01, the famous 'the adults are here' one, and they all have these little smirks on thier faces. In the light of the past sevens years...that smirks says to me ' you all have no idea just how much we are going to f@&k you over, do you?

Posted by: Northzax on December 29, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

question for ya, eggie old chap...who is this god of yours that you fear him so much that you can't even say his name?

If egbert were an Orthodox Jew, his tradition would forbid him from saying the name of the Lord. So they get around it by using "G_d" or a euphemism.

Me, I think that Egbert is simply unable to spell "God."

Posted by: DJ on December 29, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Me, I think that egbert is simply unable to spell "I." Fortunately, cutting and pasting random blurbs from freerepublic doesn't require spelling skills that extensive.

Posted by: R Johnston on December 29, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert---"The lack of respect for G_d and Country that's expressed at this website astound me.

I often wonder what makes liberals so ravenously anti-American"

Executive totalitarian over-reach, measures that violate the US constitution, scrapping of rights present since the days of English common-law, using practices defined as torture since the Inquisition, using methods that are not countenanced under Judeo-Christian beliefs---what country and god do you believe in????

Posted by: neal on December 29, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

And from The Guardian (12/26/07)

(quote)

Earlier this month, senator Sheldon Whitehouse made a stunning revelation: the president is not legally obliged to follow his own executive orders.

Executive orders are the directives the president issues to explain how he will implement existing laws. They cover things like the organisation and legal conduct of the intelligence community, the treatment of classified and unclassified information and interrogation techniques approved for the CIA.

Whitehouse read from a legal opinion he had declassified to explain this point:

"An executive order cannot limit a president. There is no constitutional requirement for a president to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the president has instead modified or waived it."

Or, as the senator explained in his own words, that means the president believes: "I don't have to follow my own rules, and I don't have to tell you when I'm breaking them."

(end quote)

Posted by: Neal on December 29, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Not only can EggBurnt not seperate Drum from Benen, it seems ha can't seperate legal argument from God.

Worse, he doesn't equate God with Earth, but a single country.

Posted by: Xisithrus on December 29, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

And of course the press is into "he said this" so forget the truth, no questions asked, our national press is busy propping up George to ever stop and write about the horrors of this presidency.

Posted by: me-again on December 30, 2007 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if chicounsel drafted any of them.

Posted by: DJ on December 29, 2007 at 7:49 PM

Why thank you for thinking of me as this site's resident right wing legal expert. It's always nice to be appreciated. lol

However, after reading the article, Lithwick really doesn’t present any legal arguments that expose the administration’s legal arguments as being stupid. Some items on the list are not legal arguments per se, but are political issues that happen to involve the law. Since the administration has mostly gotten its way both in the courts and on Capitol Hill on these issues, it's hard to see how stupid the administration has been.


Posted by: Chicounsel on December 30, 2007 at 4:36 AM | PERMALINK

Heard another dumb one today:

Cheney can't be impeached because he wasn't elected and only elected officials can be impeached.

Erotische Artikelen: http://www.pleasure4fun.nl

Posted by: John on December 30, 2007 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Suburbocounsel: Since the administration has mostly gotten its way both in the courts and on Capitol Hill on these issues, it's hard to see how stupid the administration has been.

Yes, the administration has in fact gotten its way on Capitol Hill. People interested in the rule of law, including most officers of the court, find that distressing, not a cause for jubilation. Once again, your support of the administration has fully eclipsed any loyalty you may once have felt toward the country and the law. I'm not even sure you can recognize those concepts anymore.

I always get a kick out of your willingness to freely display your disdain for anything other than winning by any means. As your interpretation of the law and the constitution shifts wildly according to which side your guys are on, you demonstrate that really don't have a shred of objective principle in you anywhere. You're like a half-literate inflatable doll, insufficient even for DuPage County real estate closings.

Posted by: shortstop on December 30, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Since the administration has mostly gotten its way ... in the courts"

Still lying about this, dear? You really should do a little more reading before exposing your ignorance for all to see. I do hope you do a little more research for your clients, dear heart.

Posted by: PaulB on December 30, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's an impressive list, but amazingly doesn't include the administration's CO2-is-not-a-potential-dangerous-atmospheric-gas
-that-the-EPA-has-the-right-to-regulate that so far has lost four times in a row...going for five.

Posted by: Kit Stolz on December 30, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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