Don't Ever Take Sides With Anyone Against The Family Again. Ever

by digby

Wow. What's a guy got to do to prove his loyalty to these guys?

Guilty Of Insufficient Overreaching

Patrick Philbin is an unlikely victim of the war on terror. In fact, he's one of its chief legal architects.

Philbin's conservative bona fides are unimpeachable. Law clerk for federal appeals judge Laurence Silberman, the ideological godfather of scores of conservative lawyers, then for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

As a Justice Department official, he wrote a memo in November 2001 concluding that the president had the "inherent authority" to establish military commissions to try detainees. Wrong, the Supreme Court eventually said.

Philbin co-authored a memo the next month finding that federal courts had no power to hear habeas corpus petitions by Guantanamo Bay detainees. Wrong again, said the Supreme Court.

This wasn't merely a lawyer zealously representing a client. Philbin, now in private practice, urged Congress in March not to close Guantanamo and transfer detainees here. Prisoners then "arguably will have constitutional rights" that they will seek to assert in court, he warned.

Philbin seemed like a shoo-in to become deputy solicitor general. But even he was not a true enough believer for the administration's executive-power zealots, chiefly David S. Addington, then counsel and now chief of staff to Vice President Cheney.

His fault? Manning the legal barricades against the administration's efforts to coerce Attorney General John Ashcroft to approve its extralegal warrantless wiretapping. Philbin was in Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004 when Alberto Gonzales and then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card arrived for the Wednesday Night Ambush.

Former deputy attorney general James Comey referred to Addington's revenge in his Senate testimony last week by mentioning "one particular senior staffer of mine . . . had been blocked from promotion, I believed, as a result of this particular matter . . . That was Mr. Philbin."

Philbin's out of government now. So, too, aside from FBI Director Robert Mueller, are the rest of those who stood up to the administration.

Addington and Gonzales remain. That should chill anyone who believes in the rule of law, not rule by presidential fiat.

The Justice Department was corrupted from the very beginning of the Bush administration with extreme ideologues. But even that wasn't good enough. Unless they were willing to behave like thugs, they were out.

Yet somehow Miss Goodie Goodling was quite comfortable in her job until some of those killjoy US Attorney's objected to having their professional reputations smeared and caused a ruckus. What does that say about her?

Goodling seemed very sweet today explaining that she "crossed the line" but she "didn't mean to" (also known as The Paris Hilton Defense --- h/t TBOGG.) But let's not forget one thing. She learned at the feet of one of the most venomous pit vipers of the GOP --- Barbara Comstock --- who also worked at the Justice department after running the Bush campaigns vicious oppo campaign in 2000. Goodling is no naif, just because she looks like one of those American Girl dolls. She admitted just today that she helped Karl Rove's loathesome caging" specialist become the US Attorney of Arkansas, knowing full well what he did. (But I'm sure she didn't "mean to.") She's made.

H/T to BB