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On Obama's Bybee/Yoo whitewash: "Heads I win, tails you lose"

Responding to Jack Balkin's fine exegesis of exactly how the laughingly named Department of Justice's laughingly named Office of Professional Responsibility let Yoo and Bybee off the hook*, Inside Out The Beltway writes:

Our country's power elite is, quite literally, governed by the pre-adolescent verbal trick of "heads I win, tails you lose," with "I" being high-level officials seeking to flout the law and "you" being the rule of law itself. The absurd threshold of attorney misconduct discussed by Balkin is merely the "heads I win" of this formulation, allowing advising attorneys to be shielded by nearly insurmountable ethical triggers. The "tails you lose," meanwhile, is the equally impervious ability of deciding officials to hide behind even the most frivolous legal advice of the "heads I win" attorneys.

Indeed, to completely eviscerate the rule of law, the laughably narrow attorney misconduct standard must be combined with a similarly extreme interpretation of the protection those attorneys provide to the government officials "relying" on their advice. In other words, "heads I win, tails you lose" results when the justice system does both of the following: (1) allows government officials to avoid culpability for their actions by commissioning legal hacks to justify what they want to do; and (2) makes it nearly impossible to punish the advising lawyers for their bald-faced hackery. As a result, as long as a government official launders his or her preordained illegal activity through the hocus-pocus of a sufficiently loyal legal hack, neither the official nor the legal hack will ever be held to account for their central roles in breaking the law.

Yep. And whoever would want to "change" that?

Not Obama, certainly. I'm shocked.

NOTE * Clinton, of course, was disbarred for telling a non-material untruth in a trumped-up hearing for a case concocted by his political enemies. Blow-jobs bad. Torture good.

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