Friday, May 01, 2009

But the judge has no need to be nervous

Via Emptywheel, a remarkable glimpse into Judge Bybee's confused chambers:
On Thursday, law clerks for the judge said variously that Bybee would respond to an appeal by Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee; that he would explain his reasoning in a statement to the San Francisco-based appeals court; and that he would have nothing more to say to anyone on the subject.

"My impression is that there won't be any further statements," law clerk Keith Woffinden said, apologizing for the contradictory messages being sent by staffers.
Based on my own limited experience, I cannot believe that any law clerk of Bybee's said *anything* to the media that the clerk had not heard from Bybee himself. Law clerks simply do not take it on themselves to say "well,I'm pretty sure he'll appear," or whatever.

If Leahy would get a few senators to set aside grandstanding and let some legal experts quiz Bybee, the results would be devastating. Get this guy, for instance:
In the view of John Parry, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., who has written extensively on torture, Bybee's legal reasoning was suspect and the memos "unbalanced."

"They do not consider any arguments that might detract from their conclusions, and they cite irrelevant or misleading authority," Parry said. "Perhaps worse, they fail to provide sound legal advice. Instead, they read as if they were meant to provide cover for decisions that had already been taken."
There is no way that Bybee can defend the "good faith" of these things, not to a questioner who knows what to ask.

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