WASHINGTON — A coalition of left-wing advocacy groups filed legal ethics complaints on Monday against 12 former Bush administration lawyers, including three United States attorneys general, whom the groups accuse of helping to justify
The coalition, called Velvet Revolution, asked the bar associations in four states and the District of Columbia to disbar the lawyers, saying their actions violated the rules of professional responsibility by approving interrogation methods, including waterboarding, that constituted illegal torture.
By writing or approving legal opinions justifying such methods, the advocates say, the Bush administration lawyers violated the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture and American law.
Kevin Zeese, a longtime activist and lawyer who signed the complaints on behalf of Velvet Revolution, said the groups were acting because the Obama administration had resisted calls for a criminal investigation of abuse of prisoners under the Bush administration.
The Obama administration has not ruled out the possibility of professional disciplinary action being taken against some of those involved.
“The torture issue needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians if it is going to be dealt with as the war crimes that it is,” Mr. Zeese said.
The complaints are available online at the group’s Web site, www.velvetrevolution.us/torture_lawyers/index.php.
The filings come as the Justice Department’s ethics office, the Office of Professional Responsibility, completes a report on the department lawyers who wrote opinions authorizing harsh interrogations.
The report, in the works for nearly five years and expected to be released in the next few weeks, is said to be highly critical of some authors of the opinions, including John C. Yoo, a senior official at the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002, and his boss, Jay S. Bybee.
The Velvet Revolution complaint also names Steven G. Bradbury, who headed the legal counsel office from 2005 to 2009; the three attorneys general, John Ashcroft, Alberto R. Gonzalez, and Michael B. Mukasey; Michael Chertoff and Alice S. Fisher, who headed the Justice Department’s criminal division; two former Pentagon officials, Douglas J. Feith and William J. Haynes II; and two former White House lawyers, Timothy E. Flanigan and David S. Addington.
Legal experts are divided over the likely effect of such complaints. A complaint filed last year against Mr. Yoo, a Berkeley law professor who remains a member of the Pennsylvania bar, was rejected by that state’s bar association, in part because the Justice Department was already investigating Mr. Yoo’s role in the interrogation memorandums.
Mr. Yoo has often defended his role in writing the legal opinions, noting that they were written in the anxious months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and were intended only to outline the limits of the law, not to advise policy makers
on what methods to use.
But one interrogation opinion written primarily by Mr. Yoo was later withdrawn by the Justice Department, which considered it overly broad and poorly reasoned.
Turn your minds back to a few short months ago. Liberals everywhere were in an uproar. US Attorneys had been fired, not for doing a bad job, but for being insufficiently loyal to the President. How could this happen in America, they wailed. Our great nation's legal system has been irreparably harmed by this fascistic action. They called for a grand jury investigation. This was it! They were finally going to get to impeach Chimpy McHitlerburton!
Turn your brains forward to today. Lawyers who hold political opinions that the ruling liberal elites find offensive are now under fire. They are threatened not just with their government jobs (most of them are already out of those), but with being robbed of the chance to practice law altogether! All because they disagree with the liberal talking points sent out by The DailyKos, The New York Times, and the Fred Rogers Estate.
I'm not defending lawyers. We know them to be slimy creatures who are slowly eroding America's moral fabric with their defense of criminals and their frivolous lawsuits. But can the liberals please destroy America in a consistent fashion, please? Is that too much to ask?
I'm sure now the liberal establishment will see the error of their ways. You're welcome, America.