Mark is going soft. He’s excited about John Yoo getting disbarred, but I think it could go higher than that.
John Yoo is a moral cretin, but essentially he’s just an apparatchik: he does what he’s told. The real issue is who told him to write the memo in the way that he did. Those are the people whom it is really necessary to get. The question is what is in the e-mails: my sense is that David Addington and Dick Cheney are very good at covering their tracks. We’ll see.
The other sidelight is what to do with Bybee. It’s simply unconscionable that he should be judging others, with life tenure. Impeachment will follow, but Bybee will be able to count on Senate Republicans to prevent his removal. That means he’ll draw a government salary for the rest of his life, but I’m wondering whether it is possible for Congress to forbid him from hearing cases.
This would take jurisdiction-stripping to whole new level: if Congress can forbid federal courts from hearing certain cases, why not a single federal judge? As John Yoo himself has said, the greater power implies the lesser. Like most of Yoo’s legal “arguments,” this one doesn’t have much purchase, but it’s worth a try. Petard, meet hoist.
Extension of remarks (by MO):
I suggested to Jon the correction “petard, meet enginer” and he invited me to supply the following military science (or Shakesperian exegesis, for the peacable reader), which I owe to Edwin R. Tunis. (I love Tunis’ books, which are well written, well-researched, and both beautifully and amply illustrated with the author’s wonderful drawings.)
The line from Hamlet is “…tis the sport to see the enginer hoist with [not by] his own petard.” (Delving beneath mines extends the siege metaphor, but reversing roles, because the mines were tunnels advanced under a castle’s walls by the attacker, and going underneath them was a defender’s strategy.) A petard was a mediaeval grenade in the form of a cast iron bottle with a bail, filled with powder. A fuse was stuck in the top. The enginer (the old word for an ordnance specialist) would drive a nail in the wooden door of a stronghold, hoist (hang) the petard on it, light the fuse, and scamper back to his lines. This was exciting for him in more ways than one, as the defenders would be trying to pour hot oil or water on him, or shoot him full of arrows. If in his haste he nailed his sleeve to the door, or caught his garment on the nail, the scampering back part would be problematic as the fuse burned down…you get the picture.