Hilzoy wants the Bush lawyers disbarred:
I think disbarment would absolutely be appropriate. The difficulty with prosecution is establishing intent. When a lawyer makes a stupid legal argument, it's always possible that s/he is not malicious, just a terrible lawyer. When you've narrowed the options to criminal intent or complete ineptitude, you have not got enough to prosecute. You have, however, got enough to disbar someone, since while total ineptitude is not an indictable offense, it is a good reason not to let someone go on practicing law.
If Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury did not write their memos in order to provide a shield for criminal activity, then I think they had to be completely inept as lawyers. Their job, remember, was to interpret the law for their clients, and to advise them on what was legal and what was not. By getting the law spectacularly wrong, they exposed their clients to serious legal liability, and in so doing completely failed to meet their obligations to their clients. Moreover, they made some fairly stunning mistakes, like failing to cite any of the cases in which the US government had prosecuted people for waterboarding when those cases were plainly relevant.
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