Monday, July 02, 2007

Scooter Commuter

Earlier this evening, President Bush commuted the 30-month prison sentence which Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was about to begin serving. Libby will still be required to pay a fine of $250,000, and he will still have a felony criminal conviction on his record — at least until either he prevails on appeal or President Bush grants him a full pardon on his way out the door on 2009-01-20 (only 567 days to go!). Scooter Libby lied to a grand jury with the specific criminal intent to obstruct justice. That's a serious felony, most especially for someone who works in the White House. Sadly, this is just one more example of the contempt with which the Bush Administration views the rule of law. Even more ominously, this act refreshes memories of previous ethically and legally challenged administrations, specifically Nixon during Watergate and Reagan during Iran–Contra. All three Presidents (Nixon, Reagan, and Cheney) considered themselves to be the ultimate legal authority — the Constitution, the courts, and especially the Congress be damned.

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