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July 10, 2006

Living Within the Law: Next Steps in the War on Terror

Michael Greco, President of the American Bar Association, gave a seminal speech a month ago that I bet you haven't heard yet.  It has not gotten much press despite the fact that it is spot on and despite the fact that Greco, as President of the ABA, represents 400,000 lawyers in this country.  Greco gave the speech at the Commonwealth Club of California on June 7th.  It is entitled, "Living Within the Law: Next Steps in the War on Terror".   A poster at DailyKos posted a link for the audio-clip and for the transcription (warning: pdf file) just a day or two ago.  Although the speech is perhaps forty minutes, I strongly suggest you take time to listen to it.  It is clear and concise and straight-forward.  Greco set the context for what the Bush Administration has done in terms of the Constitution and the rule of law.  He calls it for what it is: a threat to our democracy.  Here's a sampling:

Since 9/11, we have witnessed a number of - too many -- disturbing developments in the U.S. government's campaign against terrorism. We have learned about secret prisons, torture of prisoners and detainees, extraordinary rendition of detainees to nations that practice torture, abusive treatment by U.S. personnel, open ended imprisonment without charges or access to counsel, unauthorized intelligence gathering on American citizens, and more. Recent news reports have now brought to light another separation of powers issue: the increasingly frequent use of "signing statements" that the President attaches to duly enacted bills that the he signs into law.

The Prosecution concludes by asking the Jury, We the People, that we reach the only rational Verdict.

When any one branch of government attempts to place itself above or usurp the constitutionally-mandated roles of the other branches, our democracy is threatened.

We have now reached a point where all Americans must ask themselves whether these practices of our government are isolated and unconnected, or whether they form a pattern that threatens the very foundations of the rule of law in the United States.

Listen up folks.  This is get-real time. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on July 10, 2006 at 08:18 PM in Policy | Permalink


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