Thursday, July 19, 2007

They're not going to answer for it at all, are they?

First, Bush commutes Libby's sentence, meaning that prison is out of the question.

Now, today a federal judge gave a free pass to the Bushies on any civil penalties, dismissing Valerie Plame's lawsuit against the Administration.

From the Washington Post article -
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments.

{snip}

Bates also sided with administration officials who said they were acting within their job duties. Plame had argued that what they did was illegal and outside the scope of their government jobs.

"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory," Bates wrote.

"But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials," Bates said.

Now, considering that the retribution against Mr. Wilson and Ms. Plame involved leaking classified information to the media, I have to ask -

Did this judge just say it's OK for government officials to betray their oaths of office? Hell, did he just say that it's OK for them to betray their *country*?!?

How could any self-respecting American jurist render such a counterintuitive legal opinion?

Perhaps the last line in the WaPo article can shed a little light on that question -
Bates, a former Whitewater prosecutor, was appointed to the bench in 2001 by Bush.

2 comments:

AZW88 said...

The big issue seems to have been over jurisdiction. It can still be appealed. Lt's all hope this ruling gets overturned and this case gets heard.

cpmaz said...

I've heard that, but the part about 'revealing national secrets to the media to respond to criticism is a legitimate part of a public official's job' just dumbfounded me.

Plus, and I'm just guessing here, but it wouldn't surprise if the appellate judges are beholden to BushCo, too.

No cynicism here... :))