Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Attorney General speaks out

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave a wide ranging interview during which he:

1) Claimed a Supreme Court justice does not have to follow previous ruling “if you believe it’s wrong.” The AG, thus, believes that as a Supreme Court justice John Roberts would not be bound by his past statement that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision settled the abortion issue;

2) Defended indefinite detention of our terror suspects at the US naval prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba as “absolutely the right decision” in the war against terrorism; and

3) Declined to answer questions about his decision, while as White House counsel, to delay notifying most White House staff about a Justice Department investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity.

Gonzales’ statements on each of these issues are alarming. TYL has already discussed the revival of the debate surrounding abortion. Gonzales’ statements on this issue is sure to impassion advocates on both sides of the debate. Neither Alan nor myself believe that establishing abortion as a Constitutional right was the right path for our nation. However, regardless of whether or not Roe is overturned there are going to be abortions in this country. We must work to alleviate the “social conditions that lead women to believe abortion is their best choice and with the lack of education, availability or general ambivalence that leads so many to not use birth control.”

TYL has also previously taken the position that Congress needs to pass legislation that would prevent the US military from engaging in cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of any individual in American custody. We have also called upon Congress to support an effort by Rep. Adam Schiff that would give detainees legal status while formalizing the process for the review of military decisions to hold enemy combatants. While the decision to hold these individuals may be “absolutely the right decision,” the decision to continue proceeding without Congressional authorization to hold these individuals is wrong.

TYL has also written extensively on the Plame affair, stating that the president should follow up on his initial statement to immediately remove from his administration anyone involved in the leak of classified information. We have not previously posted on Gonzales’ decision to not immediately reveal to WH staff that the Justice Department had begun an investigation into the leak. However, Gonzales’ decision could have allowed relevant information pertaining to the leak to be destroyed (though I do not believe that Gonzales acted deliberately to allow others to destroy evidence).


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