Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Wrongdoing With Impunity

Posted by MEC on August 12, 2008

I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one on the Internets. So maybe my reaction to the Appeals Court ruling dismissing Valerie Plame’s lawsuit against Bush Administration officials is too hasty, and there is some legal precedent for it.

As a citizen, I am appalled. Judge David Sentelle (one of the most notoriously rightwing jurists in the country) and his colleagues on the Appeals Court apparently have ruled that government officials can do pretty much anything, even it’s unlawful, and “I was only following orders” is a legitimate alibi.

The court ruled Cheney and the others were acting within their official capacity when they revealed Plame’s identity to reporters.

Government employees who engage in questionable acts, such as abusing prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility or engaging in defamatory speech, cannot be held individually liable if they are carrying out official duties, the court said.

“The conduct, then, was in the defendants’ scope of employment regardless of whether it was unlawful or contrary to the national security of the United States,” Appeals Court Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote in the opinion.

Since when is breaking the law an “official duty” of a government official?

Oh, wait. This is the Bush Administration we’re talking about. That answers my question.

One Response to “Wrongdoing With Impunity”

  1. Charles II said

    It’s a sad day for America when unlawful acts are defined to be part of the job description of governmental officials.

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