Blog of Rights

"This Is About the Law"

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 5:48pm

Last night, George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley delivered some refreshing straight-talk on the Rachel Maddow Show. Noting that conducting a criminal investigation into the authorization of torture and abuse of detainees by Bush administration officials is not only about values but is about enforcing the law, the good professor called for the appointment of a special prosecutor — just like we did:

When we talk about values, the most important one is that the president has to enforce the laws. He can‘t pick and choose who would be popular to prosecute.

… He should be appointing a special prosecutor. There is no question about that. This is the most well-defined and publicly known crime I have seen in my lifetime. There is no debate about it. There is no ambiguity. It is well known.

You‘ve got people involved who have basically admitted the elements of a war crime that we are committed to prosecuting.

…The easiest thing [for President Obama] to do is get out of the way, say, “You know what, this is not about values. This is about the law. I took an oath to God to enforce the law. And you know what, fellow? You are going to be a target of an investigation. And maybe you are not guilty. Maybe you are. But it is not for me to decide it. It‘s for a special prosecutor.”
Turley is right, and the last week we wrote to Attorney General Holder renewing our call for him to appoint an independent prosecutor. There is more than enough evidence already in the public domain to warrant a criminal investigation. And after eight years of weak oversight, Congress must do its part, too, and form its own select committee to investigate these wrongs. As Dr. Turley says, this isn't about politics. It's about the law.

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