January 1, 2010

Classiest of the lawyers...

The Weidners are fans of John Yoo. [Link] Charlene's heard him speak at Federalist Society meetings, and she says this interview is just like he is in person! Totally smart, in the same understated dead-pan-funny way.

Questions for John Yoo - NYTimes.com. I wonder if the reporter has really grasped how completely outclassed she is here...

Your new book, "Crisis and Command," is an eloquent, fact-laden history of audacious power grabs by American presidents going back to George Washington. Which president would you say most violated laws enacted by Congress?

I would say Lincoln. He sent the Army into offensive operations to try to stop the South from seceding. He didn't call Congress into special session until July 4, 1861, well after this had all happened. He basically acted on his own for three months.

Are you implicitly comparing the Civil War with the war in Iraq, in order to justify President Bush's expansion of executive power?

The idea is that the president's power grows and changes based on circumstances, and that's what the framers of the Constitution wanted. They wanted it to exist so the president could react to crises immediately.

Do you regret writing the so-called torture memos, which claimed that President Bush was legally entitled to ignore laws prohibiting torture?

No, I had to write them. It was my job. As a lawyer, I had a client. The client needed a legal question answered.

When you say you had "a client," do you mean President Bush?

Yes, I mean the president, but also the U.S. government as a whole....

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Lincoln of course trampled the hell out of "civil liberties," and quite properly so. [Link, link] It needed to be done, and he did it.

And speaking of Lincoln, this is a slam bang story. And this too.

And here's my favorite (for oddness) Civil War image. Colonels Kit Carson and Lafayette Baker! Baker did a lot of Lincoln's dirty work, such as kidnapping and imprisoning suspected Confederate agents in the then equivalent of Gitmo, Old Capitol Prison. Popularly known as "Baker's Bastille." [Link]

Posted by John Weidner at January 1, 2010 5:47 PM
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