Media Monitor Brian C. directs attention to a segment from last night's edition of the Rachel Maddow Show, in which the host responded to the recent news from the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility. The OPR is apparently recommending "disbarment, but not prosecution" for Jay Bybee, Steven Bradbury, and John Yoo, as punishment for erecting the legal mechanisms that paved the way for the erection of the Bush administration's torture regime. Maddow, in a pointed analogy, opined:
MADDOW: In the United States, both in terms of U.S. law and our international treaty organizations, torture is a crime. When you yourself don't commit a crime, but when you scheme with other people to cause a crime to be committed, that's called criminal conspiracy. So, for example, if you didn't rob the bank yourself, but you provided the robbers with security guard uniforms and an armored car so that their bank robbery looked like normal bank business...you would go to prison, same as the robbers, once you'd been caught.
Not so much, apparently, for those who would create a system that makes torture "appear to be legal." And while Maddow's analogy is not my favorite in making this point, those who would defend these illegalities are presenting criminal defense attorneys with whole new frontiers in framing a criminal act. The DoJ's findings, that Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury, "committed serious lapses in judgment but should not be criminally prosecuted" -- well, I wonder if Bernie Madoff's lawyers are listening closely.
Michael Isikoff, however, believes that disbarring the trio would be a punishment that resonates: "Even if the recommendation is simply -- and I don't mean that to be dismissive -- a recommendation for bar disciplinary procedure against these lawyers would be like a bombshell in legal circles. To have lawyers face potential disciplinary procedures -- to lose their law licenses would be something that would be unheard of."