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Tilting at Windmills

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March 8, 2010

LIZ CHENEY'S DOJ SMEAR FACES INCREASED BLOWBACK.... Last week, Liz Cheney's right-wing vehicle, "Keep America Safe," launched a pretty disgusting smear against nine Justice Department attorneys. The group includes lawyers working in the Department of Justice who fought the Bush administration's treatment of suspected terrorists as unconstitutional.

The vile attacks from Cheney and her cohorts seek to characterize the attorneys -- who actually deserve the nation's thanks -- as terrorist-sympathizing traitors. Keep America Safe's scurrilous ad asks about the lawyers, "Whose values do they share?"

Last week, Cheney's efforts faced some pushback from the left and right. Fortunately, the blowback from across the legal establishment is getting more forceful and organized.

A group that includes leading conservative lawyers and policy experts, former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and several senior officials of the last Bush Administration, is denouncing as "shameful" Republican attacks on lawyers who came to the Obama Justice Department after representing suspected terrorists. [...]

"We consider these attacks both unjust to the individuals in question and destructive of any attempt to build lasting mechanisms for counterterrorism adjudications," wrote the 19 lawyers whose names were attached to the statement as of early Monday.

The statement cited John Adams's defense of British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre to argue that "zealous representation of unpopular clients" is an important American tradition.

The attacks on the lawyers "undermine the Justice system more broadly," they wrote, by "delegitimizing" any system in which accused terrorists have lawyers, whether civilian courts of military tribunals.

That some of the signatories are Bush administration attorneys who went up against these lawyers in court gives the argument that much more credibility.

In the larger context, Adam Serwer explains why this matters so much: "The reason for the backlash is that the attack on the so-called Gitmo Nine or al-Qaeda Seven wasn't just an attack on a handful of liberal lawyers, it was an attack on the American system of justice, suggesting that certain classes of people aren't entitled to robust legal representation and that those who chose to represent them in order to ensure due process are America's enemies. If anyone can be denied due process, than all of us can be denied due process. The people at KAS, for whatever reason, are incapable of looking beyond their political self-interest and are willing to cannibalize the very institutions of American democracy in order to gain political ground against their political targets."

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

It was also an attack on Bushco lawyers who are still doing Bushco bidding...

Posted by: bubba on March 8, 2010 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad too many Americans like the Cheneys have a continual need to attack others. Liz and her like minded ilk need some serious couch time! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 8, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Well the fortunate side of this is that a disgraced Liz Cheney will never ever be invited onto any of the news shows ever again.

Posted by: gbear on March 8, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to see that there are some lines those guys won't cross.

Posted by: Rathskeller on March 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK
If anyone can be denied due process, than all of us can be denied due process.

They hate us for our freedoms.

Posted by: noncarborundum on March 8, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

The affair was instructive in that it made explicit a conservative assumption that mainly lurks in the shadows: that only liberal wusses insist on the Constitution and the rule of law.

Posted by: davidp on March 8, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

terrorist-sympathizing traitors..... "Whose values do they share?"

Luntz tested. Luntz approved.

Of course this isn't about the patriotism of a handful of DOJ lawyers. This is about keeping the base's apoplexy stoked against Obama. Mission accomplished.

Posted by: oh my on March 8, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

As a tangential issue: could a case still be made, it may not be good policy to put these sort of terror suspects in front of a randomly picked Jury of plain folks? I'm not even sure that's a good idea in general and have long thought professional juries might be better. The existing kind IMHO can't tell when they're getting a poor presentation

Posted by: neil b on March 8, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Liz Cheney, Legal Scholar. . .

Star Chamber
an English court of civil and criminal jurisdiction that developed in the late 15th century, trying esp. those cases affecting the interests of the Crown. It was noted for its arbitrary and oppressive judgments and was abolished in 1641.

Posted by: DAY on March 8, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently every lawyer in America, conservative and liberal alike, has been brainwashed. The entire ABA should be transferred to Gitmo for waterboarding.

Posted by: Darth Cheney's Apprentice on March 8, 2010 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Too late to criticize Ms. Cheney.

Her antics have achieved her two main objectives: the questions of any legal, ethical or moral lapses by her father have been clouded out and have been rendered totally irrelevant, and she has been established as a leading contender for choice top spots in any future Republican administration.

She is the female Dubya.

Posted by: gregor on March 8, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

I wish we'd never repeat the language of the far right wing, as in 'the so-called Gitmo Nine or al-Qaeda Seven', or 'liberal' lawyers. Using the term 'so-called' as a qualifier does not mitigate the harm those phrases do. Also, they are not liberal lawyers. This again uses the language of the right wing to label those who follow the dictates of the constitution as being 'liberal.'

Posted by: jam on March 8, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I have a friend who was a public defense attorney in a conservative town, and now he is a prosecutor. I once asked how she could represent some fo the people she had to represent as a PD, and she explained, as apparently Liz Cheney needs, that the 'rule of law' that makes us a function govt means that due process must be followed. She had no sympathy for some of the scum she represented; she wanted to make sure they got a fair hearing, and if guilty, were put away fairly, and that there not be any hint of improper procedure.

So part of the the point of a good defense is that the prosecution does their job right, Liz.

Posted by: bigtuna on March 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Evil Empress Liz just doesn't give a rat's backside for counterterrorism adjudications---and in the spirit of the discussion, one might easily find that these United States of America don't give a rat's backside for Evil Empress Liz.

Tie Liz up to an iron post,
Hang Liz o'er a fire to roast;
Serve Liz up with some poi and toast, and
We'll call it a Liz Cheney luau!

...could set that one almost to music, I could....

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 8, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

She is the female Dubya.

No, she is the female Cheney. I figure that in a year or so, we'll start hearing "Palin/Cheney in 2012" bouncing around the right-whinge bloggysphere.

If it's not happening already.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 8, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

If the corporate MSM would stop giving her a platform, and call her what she is, a hateful right-wing demagogue, we wouldn't be wasting everyone's time talking about her antics.

Her goals are to sanctify her fascist father, build up her cred with the wingnut base, and make Obama and all Democrats look bad. She's a chip off Lynn Cheney's hatchet face and vile tongue. Apples don't fall far from the tree... What an awful family to be so full of certainty and hatred.

Posted by: rRRk1 on March 8, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Why should we be surprised? Liz thinks anyone who actually provided legal counsel to a "terrorist" is a traitor.

Her father clearly believed that if we had someone in custody, they were automatically guilty.

The real problem is that those "traitor lawyers" often were able to establish that some of those in custody had wound up there because of lies, mistakes or framing...swept up off the streets of Iraq or Afghanistan and thrown in prison as terrorsts because of an error or because they refused or were unwilling to pay a bribe to some warlord and then were accused of terrorism.

Classic case...Maher Arar...arrested getting off a plane in NY and a few hours later, flown off to Syria for an extended stretch of prison isolation and beatings.

He was arrested by immigration on his way back to Canada from a vacation in Tunisia visiting family. He was a naturalized Canadian. The reason for his arrest? Canadian Mounties had evidence he had met with someone in Canada suspected of terrorist connections. In fact, Arar had met with the man about renting an apartment. Canada ultimately paid Arar $3 million for the mistake. In the US, he is or at least was, still on a no fly list, even though proven innocent.

One other wrinkle...when they finally let Arar out of prison in Syria, they dropped him in the middle of Macedonia without a passport and told him to get home on his own.

Classy Liz....who is really the terrorist here?

Posted by: dweb on March 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

As Daphne Eviatar points out in her column at Huffpo, this AM, this switches the spotlight away from the Ethics Report which was made without the deleted e-mails at the White House involving Yoo.

Liz knew what she doing in tossing out this smoke bomb screen.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

"This again uses the language of the right wing to label those who follow the dictates of the constitution as being 'liberal.'"
Posted by: jam

As far as I can make out, this is correct. Conservatives only believe in their interpretation of the 2nd and 10th amendments; the rest of the constitution is liberal crap.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on March 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you suppose that like Parlimentarian Gate that Liz is realizing that Daddy the Devil Incarnate is likely to get charged with some pretty serious stuff, and this is just a way to try to smear and intimidate the DOJ. I mean look how Obama is wiening out of supporting the American Judicial with the accused terrorist's trials.

Of course it won't dawn on her that the same criteria applies to any lawyer who, by her standards, would be anti-American enough to defend Chaney, the war criminal.

Posted by: Marnie on March 8, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Steve:

Please note that it isn't only Liz Cheney.

These same attorneys have been smeared repeatedly at National Review as well, in particular by Andy McCarthy.

Here are some examples:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MmYzNzM5ZmJiMWQ3N2U1YmU0YzYwZWU2NGFmNDdkOTk=

http://article.nationalreview.com/426964/the-gitmo-volunteers/andrew-c-mccarthy

Posted by: Socrates on March 8, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK


The people at KAS, for whatever reason, are incapable of looking beyond their political self-interest and are willing to cannibalize the very institutions of American democracy in order to gain political ground against their political targets.

Here is as perfect a summary of today's GOP as I've ever seen. It's all about politics for them, policy or the public welfare be damned.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on March 8, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

"I have a friend who was a public defense attorney in a conservative town, and now he is a prosecutor. I once asked how she could represent some fo the people she had to represent as a PD, and she explained, as apparently Liz Cheney needs, that the 'rule of law' that makes us a function govt means that due process must be followed. She had no sympathy for some of the scum she represented; she wanted to make sure they got a fair hearing, and if guilty, were put away fairly, and that there not be any hint of improper procedure.

So part of the the point of a good defense is that the prosecution does their job right, Liz."


And the next part of that last sentence that without quality defense we, as a society, have no way to assure ourselves that the guilty have been been prosecuted, if an easy conviction can be gained against the innocent and sufficient doubt brought to light.
As long as the case is still "open" law enforcement bare a respnsiblity to continue to investigate to uncover the guilty.

Posted by: Marnie on March 8, 2010 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

If anyone can be denied due process, than all of us can be denied due process.

Precisely the point that seems to escape so many soi-disant "conservatives," for all of their very vocal (if selective) idolatry of the Constitution.

Posted by: Jon on March 8, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Can Lizzie be charged as an "accessory after the fact" for war crimes?

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Liz Cheney has read the Constitution and may know it by heart. That she doesn't value it and has absolutely no problem with trampling on it says quite clearly what she thinks of America. As far as she is concerned, the Constitution and everything that made America a country to be admired is just an impediment in her path to totalitarian (unitary executive) control of the nation's people and resources. She needs to become a hermit somewhere in the Tetons where she and her survivalist militias can plot far away from decent people.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

In CheneyWorld, also known as WingnutWhackoWorld, with the Christianist theocratic dictatorship installed, all non-believers (us) will be categorized as "terrorists" and subject to arrest and incarceration. Just as in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China, the rule of law becomes an obstacle to the imposition of "right thinking", so it must be delegitimized - and when I consider the number of "conservatives" who used to argue that "you don't need to worry if the government is reading your e-mail if you're not saying anything illegal", it's pretty clear that the argument can be successfully made to a majority of the American booboisie, none of whom have a clue how the system they live in and benefit from actually operates.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 8, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

If you want an operational definition of Nazi, Liz Cheney is the pick of the millennium.

Posted by: rbe1 on March 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Which one of Dick's 5 deferments was Lizzy?

Posted by: G.Kerby on March 8, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey liz, why don't you shave your hair, navigate yourself to Germany and join up with the skinheads, where you belong. Then big Dick could represent Radovan Karadžić. I'd enjoy watching the Big Dick gaining kudos for representing a hero of the propertied class against the riffraff.

Posted by: rbe1 on March 8, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Liz Cheney -- as mean as her father, as ignorant as her mother.

Posted by: Regis on March 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I have always been taught that to make yourself look good by smearing (untruthfully) the other side was a despicable and loser thing to do.
Anyone notice how many talk shows she has been on to defend her hateful views?

Posted by: JS on March 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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