Tuesday, February 08, 2005

John Dean is a voice that speaks to Cassie

Cassie e-mailed to say that John Dean speaks to her and ask that we highlight him.

Cassie: Worse than Watergate is a powerful book and Dean is an independent so I hope we can spotlight him here at The Common Ills. I know he used to get mentioned but I haven't seen anything here by him in awhile. I admire that he reasons so well and respond to him because he lays out the law plain and simple. And he understands the workings of government.

John Dean's last two columns at Find Law are worthy of noting (and if you feel he isn't being highlighted again, please e-mail because it's not an intended slight, just a shortage of time and a short attention span on my part).

Here he is addressing Rehnquist's "fourth annual report on the Federal Judiciary" and addressing the differences between reactionary conservatives (Rehnquist) and radical ones (take your pick from GOP members in Congress):

This year, in his report, the Chief Justice strongly lectured those members of Congress who have recently mounted increasing "criticism of judges for engaging in what is often referred to as 'judicial activism.'"
This criticism has been accompanied by threats of action -- which may be what troubles Rehnquist. Members of Congress -- including prominent firebrands on the right -- have threatened, recently, to punish the judges they deem "activist." They have discussed seeking to impeach judges based on their opinions (rather than personal conduct). And they have also discussed curtailing federal jurisdiction in a number of ways -- although the extent of Congress's power to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction remains dangerously uncertain.
(Of course, charges of judicial activism can easily be made by the left, too, with the Rehnquist Court a prime offender. But with the Republicans holding political power, the real threat is that Congress will punish judges on the left, or curtail jurisdiction in areas in which it found decisions to be too left-leaning.)
Plainly, Rehnquist feels Congress's threats to punish activist judges are inappropriate. And this is not the first time he has said so. The fact that he has once again raised this issue -- and done so quite pointedly -- suggests that he feels it is a serious problem, and that he may know more than he has said.

Here he is addressing the Gonzales hearing and the Bybee memo:

Recognizably, after four years in Washington, Gonzales has learned the craft of the non-responsive answer. His practice hearing sessions before traveling to Capitol Hill prepared him well to speak naught.
Actually, Gonzales, it turns out, was not the only focus of attention at his confirmation hearings. Time and again, one heard the name Jay S. Bybee - now a federal appellate judge. Bybee was confirmed for his seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by the Senate on March 13, 2003.
The reason Bybee's name came up so frequently was that he signed and sent the now-infamous
August 1, 2002 torture memorandum to Gonzales. At the time, Bybee was Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) - an office once called the conscience of the Justice Department.
The memo leaked during the summer of 2004, so it was notably absent from Bybee's own confirmation hearing. And he stonewalled questions about advice relating to the war on terror. But his memo played a prominent role in Gonzales's - as well it should have.
This document is the most alarming bit of classified information to surface during wartime since the 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers relating to the war in Vietnam.

Again, e-mail (common_ills@yahoo.com) if there's a voice that speaks to you that we're not highlighting (again, the right-wing has their own sites and those voices can be highlighted there)
or if there's one that I seem to be forgetting.