Saturday, January 08, 2005

Alberto Gonzales- Evil Incarnate

The more I think about this man, the more disgusted I become. Mever mind that he justified torture. Never mind that he misrepresented basic facts in death penalty memos. It's what he does to the law, and to lawyers, that pisses me off.

One of a lawyer's basic jobs is to give honest, independent professional advice. Sometimes, that means looking your client in the eye and telling him that he's shit-outta-luck. Now, obviously, whether the client listens to you is up to him- as the lawyer, you advocate the client's position, not yours- and I've had clients refuse my advice before. Usually, that leads to a bad loss, and an "I told you so."

When you look at the lousy advice that Gonzales has given the President over the years, it makes you wonder how he's managed to keep his job, let alone keep getting promoted. Consider his position on torture- first, he argued that certain language is vague (specifically quoting, "outrages against personal dignity" as an example of vagueness; hey Alberto, it's not that vague- for example, stripping your prisoners naked and forcing to simulate sex is an outrage against personal dignity... and you created the climate that made it possible); second, he seized upon that perceived ambiguity, and decided that torture means only that abuse that results in serious injury. He created a new category of person, the "enemy combatant," and then quesitoned whether the Geneva Conventions applied to enemy combatants. In other words, he jiggered the system to get the answer that his client wanted, even though very few people other than his client agreed.

What a good lawyer should have done, is to look his client in the eye and tell him, "You can't do that." Alberto Gonzales didn't do that- I doubt that he ever will.

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