What Rule Of Law?


David Brooks' column today can only be described as an embarrassment. More in the morning. It seems to me that Orin Kerr gets it right:

As I understand it, Bush political appointee James Comey named Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Plame leak. Bush political appointee and career prosecutor Fitzgerald filed an indictment and went to trial before Bush political appointee Reggie Walton. A jury convicted Libby, and Bush political appointee Walton sentenced him. At sentencing, Bush political appointee Judge Walton described the evidence against Libby as "overwhelming" and concluded that a 30-month sentence was appropriate. And yet the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.

Er, yes. But we know why they are claiming this absurdity. He's their friend; and he's critical to maintaining the line that no one rigged the case for war or risked criminal conduct to push back against a critic who believed it was. But the bottom line is a simple one, regardless of its origins. Is Libby a perjurer or not? He is. And Bush has nullified the sentence. To please a political constituency.  It is hard to think of an action more contemptuous of the rule of law - except for so many decisions made by this lawless president, acting as a monarch. De facto pardoning or commuting of a sentence was once a royal prerogative that even kings reserved for those they didn't know, convicted clearly unjustly, whose sentence had often largely been served.  And yet Bush uses it in office for a friend, hours after the failure of his appeal, to protect his own political and legal liability for jeopardizing intelligence and compromising national security.

What more do we need to know? These people think they are above the law. This president thinks he is above the law. The vice-president believes he is above the law. And when democratic leaders act as if they are the law unto themselves, and are prepared to upend the justice system to serve their own political ends, it's time for a revolt. Sorry, David. But this won't be forgotten - ever. It's a final straw, a call to wake up before these criminals get away with it one more time.

(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty.)