Local Lawyers Protest and Miss the Point
Members of the Rochester judicial community marched to the
Hall of Justice Thursday, Nov. 8, in support of their colleagues
in Pakistan. The local rally was to show solidarity for the judges
and lawyers arrested by the Pakistani military.
Make no mistake. I think this show of solidarity is admirable. I especially find the language of solidarity heartening. Not surprisingly the local newspaper seems not to have covered the event but I did hear a brief mention on our local npr station on my drive home last noght.
Still, the local attorneys miss the point, I think. In her most recent column in The Nation Patricia Williams draws the same parallel I have tried to make between subversion of the constitution in far-away places and the real subversion of judicial independence and the rule of law here at home. Of course, Alberto Gonzalas has now departed the administration. But we are no closer really to determining the various ways BushCo have tried to clean out the Justice Department. And the Senate controlled by Democrats has confirmed Michael Mukasey to replace the unlamented Alberto. As Williams notes:
nation on earth condemned. Until recently, there were no such
equivocations about it. And until recently, "democracy"
meant something other than the power of unchecked
violence wielded by either a strongman or a unitary executive.
. . . Judge Mukasey cuts a . . . fetching figure, in
or out of his judicial robes. He testifies in dulcet,
measured tones. His voice is reassuring
and measured. He lays claim to the high ground of
not prejudging any issue. Torture? Couldn't say...
How reasonable his demeanor. How rude it would be to
jump up and shout, 'Hold on! You want to be the Attorney
General? And you don't have a clear stance on
waterboarding? How about hooding? Dogs chewing
on limbs? Electrodes on genitals? And while we're at it,
is cannibalism beyond your pale?'"
Why do the MCBA folks not find the continued shenanegans of the Bush Administration (and, of course, their enablers among the putatively oppostional Democrats) worth protesting? Is injustice something we can speak out against only when it occurs in exotic places? After all the Mukasey confirmation was enabled quite shamefully by our own Democratic senior Senator from New York. Where were the protests and political actions aimed at Schumer?