Today Barack Obama followed through on one of the things that many of us voted for him to do: Restore the rule of law. Specifically, his appointment of senior Justice Department officials will see the end of torture by the US, as well as gthe end of warrantless spying and indefinite imprisonment of terrorist suspects without charge or trial.
Obama appointed Dawn Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University, to run the Office of Legal Counsel—that’s the outfit that told Bush that he didn’t have to obey the law or US Constitution and could torture prisoners. She publicly criticised “Bush's corruption of our American ideals”, but her harshest criticism was for the lawyers in the office she will now head for daring to suggest “that in fighting the war on terror, [Bush] is not bound by the laws Congress has enacted.''
Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe said of the appointment, “One of the refreshing things about [it] is that she's almost a 180-degree shift from John Yoo and David Addington and Dick Cheney,'' all of whom were responsible for cooking up the framework to “justify” torture. Tribe’s understating it a bit, since the unravelling of America’s Constitution was designed mostly by those three.
After eight years of high crimes and misdemeanours by the Bush-Cheney regime, a time when the Justice Department seemed to exist only to promote and justify the political agenda of the regime, it’s refreshing to see a strong legal team emerge, one that will be once again committed to the rule of law and to the Constitution they’re sworn to preserve, protect and defend.
There’s been criticism of President-elect Obama in recent weeks, coming from the left as well as the predictable whiners on the right. But if either extreme wants to know why people like me voted for Obama-Biden, this was one of the biggest reasons.