Republicans – No Respect for the Rule of Law

Consider this. According to Senator Whitehouse (D-RI), Republicans are pressuring Eric Holder to commit not to prosecute Bush administration officials for the use of torture.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have asked Eric Holder to make a commitment, before he is even confirmed, that he will not prosecute any Bush Administration officials for their involvement in acts of torture during the last administration.

I suppose that after the past eight years, I shouldn’t be surprised that Republicans don’t want political appointees to do their jobs. But this is especially appalling. It would be unbelievably improper for Holder to make that commitment. The decision on whether to prosecute must be made only after investigation. They are asking him not to do his job, as a condition for taking the job. We may as well abolish the position.

Furthermore, I’m not sure that this makes political sense. The Obama administration has been fairly clear in their reluctance to prosecute on torture issues. What possible reason could there be to publicize this in this way? Now, if Holder doesn’t prosecute, he caved to the Republicans. If he does, then he was just upholding the integrity of the law. It seems to me that this would make it easier to make a public argument in favor of prosecution.

Additionally, the traditional media has been almost universally united in their consensus that prosecutions would be divisive and distracting. This move just reopens the debate, and does so in a way that more clearly places Republicans in the wrong.

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