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Scorecard 2

This is bad.

The other stuff so far has been not good, like lollygagging around with a half-strength half-witted stimulus bill. Some of it has been very not good, like dumping poor women overboard to save a few hundredths of one percentage point on that stupid bill.

But this is of “Now is the time for your tears” caliber. Via Greenwald:

Today the Obama administration was required to file with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals its position in this case — i.e., whether it would continue the Bush administration’s abusive reliance on the “state secrets” privilege to prevent courts from ruling on such matters, or whether they would adhere to Obama’s previous claims about his beliefs on “state secrets” by withdrawing that position and allowing these victims their day in court. …

[Judge speaking with Dept. of Justice lawyer:]

“Is there anything material that has happened” that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.

“No, your honor,” Mr. Letter replied.

“The change in administration has no bearing?” she asked.

“No, your honor,” he said once more. The position he was taking in court on behalf of the government had been “thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration,” and “these are the authorized positions,” he said.

“Thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration”: that’s about as explicit as it gets. …[T]his was an active and conscious decision on the part of the Obama DOJ to embrace one of the most extreme abuses of the Bush presidency. …

It isn’t merely that the Obama DOJ is invoking the privilege for this particular case, which contains allegations of torture that are as brutal and severe as any. That’s bad enough. But worse is that they’re invoking the most abusive parts of the Bush theory: namely, that the privilege can be used to block the adjudication of entire cases (rather than, say, justify the concealment of specific classified documents or other pieces of evidence), and, worse still, can be used to prevent judicial scrutiny even when the alleged government conduct is blatantly illegal and, as here, a war crime of the greatest seriousness.

They’re embracing a theory that literally places government officials beyond the rule of law.

They’re embracing a theory that literally places government officials beyond the rule of law.

They’re embracing a theory that literally places government officials beyond the rule of law.

They’re embracing a theory that literally places government officials beyond the rule of law.

The first scorecard was posted Dec. 8, 2008, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

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