Sunday, January 11, 2009

Three Thoughts on Prosecution of Administration Officials

The NYT ran op-eds today opining on whether Bush administration officials should be prosecuted for authorizing certain acts in the war on terror.

Charles Fried (Harvard) argues no; Dahlia Lithwick (Slate) argues yes; Jack Balkin (Yale and Balkinization) argues a middle position--"seeking the truth."

This debate comes in the wake of the Senate Armed Services Committee report concluding that high ranking officials authorized torture in violation of U.S. law.  (I previously posted on this here.)  Link to the summary and conclusions here.

The Bush administration response--well known by now--is that any statutory restrictions on its actions were themselves unconstitutional (as impinging its inherent Article II powers); the administration maintains that its actions were consistent with the Constitution.  And in any event, Congress immunized officials from prosecution for most of these acts; the OLC ruled that others were legal.   


Executive Authority, News, War Powers | Permalink

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