Orrin Kerr, at the Volokh Conspiracy, is puzzled by conservatives crying foul over the Plamegame prosecution.
..the claim, as I understand it, is that the Libby prosecution was the work of political enemies who were just trying to hurt the Bush Administration.
I find this claim bizarre. I’m open to arguments that parts of the case against Libby were unfair. But for the case to have been purely political, doesn’t that require the involvement of someone who was not a Bush political appointee? Who are the political opponents who brought the case? Is the idea that Fitzgerald is secretly a Democratic party operative? That Judge Walton is a double agent? Or is the idea that Fitzgerald and Walton were hypnotized by “the Mainstream Media” like Raymond Shaw in the Manchurian Candidate? Seriously, I don’t get it.
It’s simple enough. George W. Bush is an idiot.
Bush appointed Martha Stewart-prosecutor James Comey (no Republican, no conservative) Deputy Attorney General. Comey proved a thorn in the administration’s side on War on Terror policies, favoring kinder treatment for illegal combatants than he had for Martha, and making waves over the NSA’s Counter-Terrorism data-mining operation. Bush derisively referred to Comey’s liberalism with one of those nicknames he likes to confer, dubbing him “Cuomey.”
Bush then proceeded to mortally offend John Ashcroft by declining to keep him on as Attorney General in his second term. Ashcroft retaliated by recusing himself from appointing a prosecutor in L’Affaire Plame, placing thereby a loaded weapon in Mr. Comey’s eager hand.
Comey then gleefully appointed his pal Patrick Fitzgerald, a kindred spirit sharing every bit of Comey’s liberal politics and Inspector Javert-like lack of prosecutorial inhibitions, as special prosecutor.
If anyone has doubts that Fitzgerald is a thoroughgoing partisan, acting politically in service to the democrat party and the American left, one need only take note of the venues of release — Monday, July 2nd, 2007 at 5:32 pm, July 02, 2007 8:55 PM ET
(via staff email July 02, 2007 at 20:23) — of his rejoinder to the Bush commutation of Libby’s sentence.
We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as â€œexcessive.â€ The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
Although the Presidentâ€™s decision eliminates Mr. Libbyâ€™s sentence of imprisonment, Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.
And don’t forget that the unknown parties at the CIA who initiated a complaint with the Justice Department over the identification of the arranger of Ambassador Wilson’s junket to Niger starting the whole witch hunt also in theory work for President Bush.
It is precisely the combination of George W. Bush’s ill-advised appointments and complete failure to gain control of his own branch of government which made possible the creation of this contrived scandal in the first place.