Apologists For Lawlessness Start To Feel The Heat


Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon today illustrates an episode in what I consider the Obama administration’s most serious task.  Having sent a constitutional scholar to the White House, it is only a tiny leap of faith on our part as voters to expect that such a scholar, no less than the Chief Editor of the Harvard Law Review, would see the Bush executive branch as dangerously swollen, distorted and in urgent need of restoration and rollback.

The extremist assaults on civil liberties post-9/11 have been many, to the enduring shame of the US.  These were challenged far too weakly by the legal establishment, and depending on where you looked, they weren’t challenged at all. Now that Dick Cheney is to be finally smoked out of his bunker, the question remains: who collaborated?  Who apologized for and legitimized the Bush administration’s illegal power grabs?

Seven years in to the monumentally bogus “war on terror” with its warrantless wiretapping and magic words like “enemy combatant” we find many okey-dokes from GWU Law Professor Orrin Kerr.  Kerr is the kind of professional you need on your side when you have radical ambitions and a fetish for security theater: a mild-mannered intellectual whose dispassionate support of eye-popping illegality lends the impression of normality and reasonability to what is no more than thuggery.

Greenwald’s online argument with Kerr is entertaining, and a little nauseating.  It is likely a precursor to others like it when John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales and their ilk are called onto the carpet for their distortion and cheapening of our most precious legal framework.   As these scholars complete their deficient educations in public, let their discredit be at least as injurious to them as their opinions have been to the Constitution.

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1984-89: Defoliants
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