There must be something good that can be said about the Bush years in the Justice Department, but weighed against the purposeful politicization and studied incompetence of the past eight years, anything positive is being buried in a deluge.
The prosecutorial incompetence or worse in the Ted Stevens trial looms large in the minds of Alaskans as an example of DOJ malpractice. However, I've heard commentators like Eddie Burke and other right-wing figures blame that incompetence on the administration that is trying to clean up the mess and fix the problem. And now, with the pending release of Pete Kott and Vic Kohring from Federal prisons, Alaskans will be - at least for a few weeks - trying to re-evaluate what all these corruption trials have meant.
But for the rest of America, lingering problems from the Ashcroft, Gonzalez and Mukasy years are manifold. Our new president is an attorney, like many before him. And a well-schooled one in constitutional law. I suspect that the corruption investigations will continue here, at least on cases not nearing the statute of limitations, and that there may be newer, ongoing investigations that the public is unaware of.
Just one aspect of the incredible lawlessness of the Bush DOJ, in combination with other agencies of his administration, was covered Thursday by award-winning blogger and author, Marcy Wheeler. In a post titled Vaughn Walker's Chess Game: The Cases, Wheeler recounted aspects of the warrantless wiretapping cases currently being overseen by one Federal judge, Vaughn Walker. The cases are:
The Al-Haraimen Islamic Charity case
The Electronic Frontier Foundation Retroactive Immunity case
The Jewell offshoot of the directly above case
The Jeppason-Boeing Extraordinary Rendition case
The Pete Seda Tax case (related to Al-Haraimen)
That's just one judge. There are many other Bush DOJ fuckups, having to be handled by many judges, at all levels of the Federal court sytem.
The word is that in respect to the Kohring and Kott local cases, Judge John Sedwick may not be removed from the process, should these men be re-tried. Both former legislators would prefer a new judge. I've been told that Kohring's attorney's letter last week to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may have had some bearing on today's decision to release Kott and Kohring from prison, and am trying to get permission to print it.
Sedwick is also involved in the Juneau road issue (Progressive Alaska will be visiting that later today), as the 9th Circuit Court will be hearing the state's appeal against Sedwick's ruling against the road development project as currently conceived. Apparently, Palin made a statement today, blaming Sedwick's decision on the road on "this administration."
This administration is saddled with having to rebuild public trust in our Federal Department of Justice, while cleaning up the most disgusting pile of horse shit in the history of that agency.
image - Monica Goodling