It's virtually been lost in the Inauguration Day excitement, but today brings word that Marty Lederman, a prof at Georgetown and contributor to the wonderful legal blog Balkinization, is joining the Office of Legal Counsel, where he worked during the Clinton administration, as a deputy AG. In other words, John "Torture" Yoo's old gig. Words fail, but it is very encouraging--this is the sort of thing I voted for.
Lederman on OLC opinions and transparency:
"If the Executive Branch is going to adopt such extreme legal views, it must do so publicly, in a way that allows for critique and democratic accountability. If it is acting on idiosyncratic, and extreme, readings of the law, it is wrong to hide that fact from the public -- to pretend as if it's business as usual."
Lederman on torture, emphasis his (he reads Jane Mayer! everyone in the new administration should be given a copy of The Dark Side):
"If the sort of secret detention, abuse and interrogation system that Jane describes were employed by one of our enemies against our nonuniformed personnel (intelligence operatives, private contractors, special forces, etc.), every single member of Congress would publicly scream that the enemy had engaged in unlawful torture and cruel treatment. And they would be absolutely correct. (I was going to say that the Executive branch response would be the same -- but we already know that the Attorney General's reaction would be: '[I]t would depend on circumstances, quite frankly.')
"And yet here we have legislative silence, in the face of a 'sophisticated, refined' system of unlawful cruelty and abuse."
This is very good. Via Emptywheel.