Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Signs of life

A judge's order yesterday requiring the U.S. Justice Department to discuss whether the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes violated a court order may signal the start of the re-engagement of the federal judiciary in the protection of the Constitution. The judiciary has been strangely acquiescent in the Bush administration's usurption of authority since the Supreme Court's incomprehensible decision declaring Bush the victor in the 2000 presidential election. But after Justice Department lawyers asked Judge Henry H. Kennedy of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to stay out of the government's investigation of the tapes' destruction, the judge ordered them to answer questions Friday morning. Of course, Kennedy still could decide not to investigate or the Justice Department could get an extraordinary ruling blocking the hearing. But the very fact that at least one member of the federal judiciary is interested enough to get involved could mean the beginning of the end of the Bush administration's free ride on the slippery slope of unchecked power.

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