Is the fix already in, so Scooter won't do time?
Libby's request was assigned to Judges David B. Sentelle, Karen Lecraft Henderson and David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
David Sentelle... David Sentelle...
Ah, I have it!
Sentelle has a history of giving Republican criminals a free pass: He overturned convictions for both Ollie North and Poindexter.
And, oh yeah, he appointed Ken Starr. After improper judicial contacts with Republican operatives. Yes, turning the criminal justice system into an arm of the RNC goes way back:
n 1992, for reasons that have never been explained, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist replaced MacKinnon with one of the most right-wing judges in the federal judiciary, U.S. Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle.
By naming Sentelle, Rehnquist altered the political climate surrouding the selection of special prosecutors, effectively injecting conservative ideology into the process in a way that had been avoided during the previous 14 years.
With the Sentelle appointment, Rehnquist also ignored a provision in the 1978 Ethics in Government Act designed to safeguard the process against politics. The original law stipulated that "priority shall be given to senior circuit judges and retired judges."
The law’s drafters hoped that recommendation would prevent appointment of younger, more politically ambitious judges who might, in turn, use their position to advance a partisan cause.
Before Sentelle, the judges named to lead the special-prosecutor panel were all senior jurists known for their non-partisanship. Rehnquist broke with that tradition in naming Sentelle, who was an active junior judge then in his 40s.
A North Carolina Republican, Sentelle was seen as a hard-line conservative, a protege of Sen. Jesse Helms and a close ally of Sen. Lauch Faircloth, two of the Senate's most conservative members.
But Sentelle's most controversial special prosecutor was Kenneth Starr. When the Whitewater issue bubbled to the boiling point in early 1994, the independent law had lapsed. So, Attorney General Janet Reno picked Republican Robert Fiske to investigate.
And Republican Fiske--remember the good old days? When you'd occasionally meet an honest Republican?--found that, with Whitewater, there was no there there:
Fiske made progress in the Arkansas phase of the inquiry but annoyed some conservatives by concluding that White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster had committed suicide in July 1993. Some conservatives were pushing vague conspiracy theories about Foster's "murder." One of the conservatives angered by Fiske's findings was Sen. Faircloth, Sentelle's friend.
So, Fiske out, Starr in:
After a Capitol Hill lunch with Helms and Faircloth, Sentelle ousted Fiske and arranged the appointment of Starr in August 1994. Starr's selection prompted complaints from some Democrats because Starr had served as solicitor general for President Bush and was an active Republican. Starr also had assisted the Paula Jones legal team with a friend-of-the-court brief against Clinton.
But Sentelle's choice stuck...
I wonder who Sentelle's having lunch with now?
Under Bush rule, it's getting like we shouldn't say "the criminal justice system."
We should say "the political justice system."