Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday attacking Liz Cheney's "Al-Qaida 7" logic as "shoddy and dangerous."
While the former chief of the Bush Justice Department never mentioned Cheney by name, he made it clear that anyone would be wrong to automatically identify DOJ lawyers with the defendants that they represent. Mukasey wrote:
This is all of a piece, and what it is a piece of is something both shoddy and dangerous. A lawyer who represents a party in a contested matter has an ethical obligation to make any and all tenable legal arguments that will help that party. A lawyer in public service, particularly one dealing with sensitive matters of national security, has the obligation to authorize any step or practice the law permits in order to keep the nation and its citizens safe. And a lawyer who undertakes to represent someone whom his neighbors--perhaps rightly--revile as a threat to the public welfare is obligated to bring his talents to bear just as forcefully in favor of that client as he would if he were representing Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, the French artillery officer who in 1895 was found guilty of treason and sent to Devil's Island for little more than being Jewish.
Mukasey is the latest Bush administration official to denounce Cheney's logic, though Some might be disappointed to learn that in the same op-ed, Mukasey also defended John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the authors of the Bush torture memos.
On Monday, 19 prominent Bush administration officials and other lawyers, including Ken Starr, signed a letter denouncing Cheney's ad.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), turned Cheney's logic on its head Tuesday and argued that lawyers who defend "the unpopular" make America safer. Graham told The Cable "...America requires the unpopular to have an advocate and every time a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job, that defense lawyer has made us all safer."