Law Professor: “We May Not Have Realized It At The Time, But In The Period From Late 2001-January 19, 2009, This Country Was A Dictatorship.”

Scott Horton – a professor at Columbia Law School and writer for Harper’s – says of the Bush administration memos authorizing torture, spying, indefinite detention without charge, the use of the military within the U.S. and the suspension of free speech and press rights:

We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship. The constitutional rights we learned about in high school civics were suspended. That was thanks to secret memos crafted deep inside the Justice Department that effectively trashed the Constitution. What we know now is likely the least of it.

Yale law professor Jack Balkin agrees, writing that the memos promoted “reasoning which sought, in secret, to justify a theory of Presidential dictatorship.” Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley says that the memos are the “very definition of tyranny”. And former White House counsel John Dean says “Reading these memos, you’ve gotta almost conclude we had an unconstitutional dictator.”

Horton is correct that “What we know now is likely the least of it.” Just as with the economic crisis, we cannot change things – or even learn the full truth – unless we have the courage to ask the hard questions and to take appropriate actions to hold even the high and mighty to the rule of law.

And as constitutional experts have pointed out, Obama and Congress are complicit in crimes if they cover up and fail to prosecute. For example, as Turley said:

“There is an obvious level of collusion here. We now know that Democratic leadership knew about the illegal surveillance program almost from its inception. Even when they were campaigning about fighting for civil liberties, they were aware of an unlawful surveillance program as well as a torture program. And ever since that came out, the Democrats have been silently trying to kill any effort to hold anyone accountable because that list could very well include some of their own members.”

See also this.

Note: Not only did a lot of us “realize it at the time”, but many in Congress and the judiciary knew as well.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13631831301034918405 PrissyPatriot

    Note: Not only did a lot of us “realize it at the time”, but many in Congress knew as well.Amen…and oh my how they did threaten the bejeezus out of those of who kept pounding them with the truth. Thanks for your work.I don’t know about all of you, but I voted for change. I don’t intend to stop beeching at them until we get some…that and accountability.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01808562161261645196 Adam

    Only from late 2001 to January 19 2009, huh?Obama and Congress are not “complicit.” They are ACCOMPLICES. And as of January 20 (for Obama) and earlier for the houses of Congress, the PERPETRATORS.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12193847766575239914 sdemetri

    An excellent speech given by Horton at a conference in 2006 commemorating the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials:http://balkin.blogspot.com/2006/10/when-lawyers-are-war-criminals.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13631831301034918405 PrissyPatriot

    Here’s another fine example of American government in action…wow.Oral History of Harry McPherson He was an attorney close to the WH in the 60’s…I’m certain you’ll recognize many of the same names whose wrath is still a scourge on our country.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00380933514110161971 m

    Just what has changed with Obama? Nothing…….and it is going to get worse.As they spiral us into dependency they will increase their ruling power.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06024008110563386548 Joe

    An excellent image of Bush’s version of the Bill of Rights (along with a link back to your blog) is here:http://www.meltingpotproject.com/mpp/2009/03/constitution-way-overrated.html

 

 

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