On more than 20 occasions, Mr. Bybee refused to answer a question, claiming over and over again that as an attorney in the Department of Justice he could not comment on any advice that he gave at any time. This is unfortunately becoming a very familiar refrain of nominees before the Judiciary Committee.
But the failure to make OLC opinions available to the Judiciary Committee during the consideration of a nominee for a seat on a circuit court is unacceptable... The administration should be able to agree to an acceptable procedure to allow the Judiciary Committee to review Mr. Bybee's OLC opinions. Given the recent history of many OLC opinions being made public, it is hard to believe that there are no opinions authored by Mr. Bybee that could be disclosed without damaging the deliberative process. Indeed, it is very hard to give credence to the idea that OLC's independence would be compromised by the release of some selection of the opinions of interest to members of the Judiciary Committee or the Senate.
"Judge Bybee has a good professional reputation in Nevada," Reid spokesman Jon Summers said in an e-mail. "While the memos that have been released are disturbing to Sen. Reid, at this point in time, he doesn't think we should be making a rush to judgment."
Reid has also resisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request to create an independent commission to investigate the interrogation tactics. In a recent statement, Reid said, "I think it would [sic] very unwise from my perspective to start having commissions, boards, tribunals until we find out what the facts are.”
Reid sponsored Bybee's judicial appointment, along with fellow Nevada Senator John Ensign. Ensign has been adamant in his support of Bybee, referring to the calls for the judge's ouster as "outrageous" and saying that "This was not torture. This is the thing we have to get away from, that this is somehow accepted that it was torture. The United States does not engage in torture. This was 'advanced interrogation techniques.'"
My question is of Harry Reid. Are you supporting Judge ByBee because he is a Mormon? I'm not against religion as I've said many times, but if Bybee was involved with any other religion, would Harry Reid have supported him? Will any reporters pose that question to Harry Reid? It just seems odd to me that Reid didn't condemn the memos he's credited with writing much more harshly and is resisting any form of inspection. This is very troubling.