by digby

It's the Republican way. First the banksters strap an economic IED to their chests and demand that the government does it their way or else. Now, it appears the Senate has taken Dawn Johnsen and Harold Koh hostage and are threatening to go nuclear if the president doesn't agree to hide Cheney's torture secrets.

Scott Horton:

Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to “go nuclear” over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration’s abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.

Excuse me, but who the hell do they think they are? These are the people who put the Starr report on the internet. And now they are all about protecting privacy? I guess it makes some sense. What happens between consenting adults is everyone's business as far as they are concerned. War crimes, however, are private matters between the criminals and the people who ordered them.

As dday points out below, the pressure on these memos is also coming from within the administration, led by none other than John Brennan. So, Obama has Republicans on his own team agitating for the Cheney gang. Love that bipartisanship. (I wonder if he's helping out his allies in the senate at all?)

Let's hope Obama stands up to them. If he shows weakness with the Republicans on this, there will be no end to it when it comes to judicial nominees. And it is vitally important that Obama balances out the courts after the past 25 years of centrist to far right appointments.