Reading the planted story in the Washington Post to somehow try and draw a little sympathy for Judge Jay Bybee is practically an admission that he bel
April 27, 2009

Reading the planted story in the Washington Post to somehow try and draw a little sympathy for Judge Jay Bybee is practically an admission that he believes the memo he's credited with writing wasn't sound legal analysis at all, and in fact he does believe that the argument he used to try to absolve these interrogation techniques of their criminal nature was in reality a ruse. Either his "how-to guide" for CIA agents to avoid violating the Geneva Conventions was a lie or he never wrote it in the first place and just signed off to make it official. In the Washington Post piece, friends and anonymous sources are sprinkled in to try and make us like the judge. He's just a man who never wanted to work at the OLC anyway and he's full of regret.

"On the primary memo, that legitimated and defined torture, he just felt it got away from him," said the fellow scholar. "What I understand that to mean is, any lawyer, when he or she is writing about something very complicated, very layered, sometimes you can get it all out there and if you're not careful, you end up in a place you never intended to go. I think for someone like Jay, who's a formalist and a textualist, that's a particular danger."

Tuan Samahon, a former clerk who recalled Bybee's remarks at the reunion dinner, said in an e-mail that the judge defended the legal reasoning behind the memos but not the policy decision. Bybee was disappointed by what was done to prisoners, saying that "the spirit of liberty has left the republic," Samahon said


That is his alibi and I'm sure David Broder's eyes welled up with tears after he finished reading the piece. A man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, wait ... wait ... wait ... he was at the right place at the wrong time in history because what he really wanted was to be on the 9th Circuit Court and just took the gig at the OLC because Alberto had nothing for him. Well, his loyalty paid off because now he's a sitting judge with a lifetime appointment on the bench he longed for.

"The whole idea that the Constitution is based on a kind of wariness of mankind's tendency to grab power, that is an idea I got from Jay," McAffee said. "So the whole idea of uninhibited executive power, from him, does seem passing strange."

Bybee's friends said he never sought the job at the Office of Legal Counsel. The reason he went back to Washington, Guynn said, was to interview with then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales for a slot that would be opening on the 9th Circuit when a judge retired. The opening was not yet there, however, so Gonzales asked, "Would you be willing to take a position at the OLC first?" Guynn said.

Poor guy. However, there is a little warning for all you dirty f*&king hippies at the end just in case you'd like to bring him in for a sitdown.

"If they end up having hearings," he said, "they're going to have a very difficult time trying to square him with their judgments about the memo."

Paul Krugman says it the best:

Adam Serwer writes about Jay Bybee’s attempt to get off the hook:

So Bybee knew he was breaking the law in allowing the use of torture, but you have to understand, he only did it because he really wanted to be a federal judge. That’s not exculpatory information, that’s motive.

Exactly right. But you have to understand what Bybee is: he’s someone who made a career as a movement conservative apparatchik. In his world, following orders and getting rewarded for his obedience was what it was all about; he’s completely shocked to find that the rules have changed.


Now, there are a lot of people with real conviction in the GOP these days. Unfortunately, those convictions include the idea that Barack Obama is a socialist, or maybe a fascist, that gays are the greatest threat we face, and … well, you get the picture. It’s a fervent base, but not, unless Obama really really messes up, an election-winning coalition.

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