Sunday, February 15, 2009

First, we go after the lawyers...

There is more than one way to skin a cat and right now, the folks who helped pave the way for the constitutional violations our last administration took part in are really sweating it.

You see, while everyone is fixated on whether or not Congress or a special prosecutor is going to be looking into the torture and illegal wiretapping W and his boys did, the attorneys that enabled their actions may have some head shots coming at them from a more simple foe: their state bars.

Seems the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Federal G is about to wrap up a report, which was started under W by the way, and that report could have dire consequences for the law licenses of these attorneys.
"An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who
approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety
among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the
department's ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional
Responsibility(OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal
advice in crucial interrogation memos "was consistent with the professional
standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys." According to two
knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive
matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush
administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials
-- Jay Bybee and John Yoo -- as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief
of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the
sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for

This is a big deal for two reasons. First, the investigation was begun before Obama took office, so it cannot logically be attacked as being partisan (I still have faith in the GOP to attack it illogically, though). Second, while Congress or Obama may let those culpable off because of the image they want to project of trying to move past, State Bar Associations are liable to be another animal all together. Trust me, bar discipline can be tough. And nothing is harder on an attorney than stripping them of that license. The many decisions an attorney makes everyday should always made with attention to two things: a) what is in the best interest of my client and b) what are my ethical duties. Trust me, you don't make decisions that you think are going to bring that license off the wall. There are some folks right now who are worried about just that.

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