Fred Thompson on the Rule of Law and Scooter
In his recent speech on the rule of law, Fred Thompson discussed the treatment Chief Justice Roberts received during the nomination process, the Department of Justice’s handling of the Berger case, and the injustice of the proceedings against Scooter Libby.
Here’s a sample:
In our system all citizens are guaranteed equal protection. And when we appropriate unlimited resources and give unlimited power and direct it all toward one individual, there had better be extraordinary circumstances. There were none here. Just a case of public officials without the courage to do the right thing and stop this farce before it began. In no other prosecutor’s office in the country would a case like this one have been brought.
Incidentally, this was shortly after Sandy Berger, the National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton, received a slap on the wrist by the Justice Department for lying about and then confessing that he stole and destroyed what we think were classified documents. We’ll never know, because he destroyed them. But we do know that he didn’t want the 9-11 Commission to see them. But nobody was clamoring for his head. Back to Libby.
I have called for a pardon for Scooter Libby. When you rectify an injustice using the provisions of the law, just as when you reverse an erroneous court decision, you are not disregarding the rule of law, you are enforcing and protecting it.
He is not the only one noting that the case against Scooter is related to the failure of will and inability to fight the entrenched bureaucracy by key administration officials who did not/could not stop what they knew was a farcical proceeding. Brian Carney reviews the case and agrees that a pardon now is necessary to undo a great wrong:
The modern American government is a vast and largely self-sustaining bureaucracy. That bureaucracy acts, first and foremost, in its own interest, and not necessarily in the interests of its putative but temporary political bosses. The CIA, its intelligence having been challenged, sold out the White House on the sixteen words-even though that intelligence would later be upheld. The State Department, faced with the knowledge that one of its own was responsible for the Valerie Wilson leak, preferred keeping the White House in the dark to revealing what it knew. The Justice Department did what prosecutors do when ordered to investigate, which is to charge people with crimes.
In other words, the Republican party’s alleged “full control” of government prior to the 2006 midterm elections was more myth than reality. The Bush administration lost control of the Wilson story almost from the beginning, and while on a number of occasions it failed to exercise the control available to it, it was also denied the opportunity to control its fate by entrenched interests that no elected administration can ever fully master without the consent of the bureaucracy that supposedly serves it.
The President, however, does still hold one trump card, left in the hands of the chief executive by the founding fathers. The only unchecked power held by any single person in the federal government is the power to grant a pardon. That power is nothing more than the authority to restore personal liberty to another person-that is, to release a man or woman from the grip of the state.