02 July 2007


The Associated Press:
President Bush commuted the sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on Monday, sparing him from a 2½-year prison term that Bush said was excessive.

Bush’s move came hours after a federal appeals panel ruled Libby could not delay his prison term in the CIA leak case.

Faithful readers know I've been following the CIA leak case for some time.

Joshua Micah Marshall:

Specifically, the conviction stands—the fine and probation stand. Libby just doesn't have to spend a day in prison.
This is being treated in the press as splitting the difference, an elegant compromise. But it is the least justifiable approach. The president has decided that the sentencing guidelines and the opinion of judge don't cut it.

The only basis for this decision is that Libby is the vice president's friend, the vice president rules the president and this was the minimum necessary to keep the man silent.

Bush, typically, didn't bother even trying to come up with a decent explanation for what he did. He didn't address questions like: Mightn't this give people the idea that there are two different standards of justice, one for people with powerful connections and another for the rest of us? Is it OK to exempt your friends from the rule of law? Isn't it especially problematic to commute someone's sentence when you yourself might have had a hand in that person's criminal actions? And double especially when no one other than the now-free criminal has been held to account, despite your earlier promises?
Joe Wilson:
In so doing, he has acknowledged Mr. Libby's guilt for, among other things, obstruction of justice, which by definition is covering up for somebody in a crime. By commuting his sentence, he has brought himself and his office into reasonable suspicion of participation in an obstruction of justice. The commutation of (Libby's) sentence in and of itself is participation in obstruction of justice.
Senator John Edwards:
Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. .... George Bush and his cronies think they are above the law and the rest of us live with the consequences.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
The President’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people.

The President said he would hold accountable anyone involved in the Valerie Plame leak case. By his action today, the President shows his word is not to be believed. He has abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold the rule of law, and he has failed to hold his Administration accountable.

Publius quotes Cato from the Anti-Federalist papers #67.
[T]he unrestrained power of granting pardons for treason, which may be used to screen from punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the crime, and thereby prevent a discovery of his own guilt; his duration in office for four years-these, and various other principles evidently prove the truth of the position, that if the president is possessed of ambition, he has power and time sufficient to ruin his country.
Digby is “enraged.” The Poor Man's Editors say, “Impeach them all.”



Kate said...

D'accord avec l'insistance!


Lydia said...

You know, I do agree with you, but I can't for the life of me figure out why people get so surprised when politicians with powers that puts them above the law use it to be above the law.

Anonymous said...

What's a little treason amongst friends?