Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called for Judge Jay Bybee to resign in light of his central role in the torture program and memos. Leahy declared that “[t]he fact is, the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee did not tell the truth. If the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee had told the truth, he never would have been confirmed.”
The expression of outrage from Democrats have civil libertarians grinding their teeth. Many civil libertarians, including myself, opposed his confirmation and raised his role in the torture program. Democrats refused to pursue the allegations, refused to block the nomination, and only asked him questions at this hearing. Only 19 democrats voted against his confirmation.
As with the torture program, the unlawful surveillance program, the AIB bonus scandal, and other recent scandals, the Democrats are now claiming shock over information that they ignored at the time of their votes.
If Bybee answered questions untruthfully, he should be charged with perjury and false statements to congressional investigators. He can then be impeached.
In the meantime, former Judiciary Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) rejected calls for the impeachment and said that Bybee was “one of the most honorable people you’ll ever meet.” Well, as long as you do not meet him in a CIA interrogation room or near a waterboard.
I certainly agree with Leahy that “The decent and honorable thing for him to do would be to resign. And if he is a decent and honorable person, he will resign.” However, these memos do not exactly speak well of Bybee sense of morals or responsibility — or humanity for that matter.
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