May 18th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Liberal groups seek disbarment of Bush lawyers over torture

Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.
Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of progressive groups sought Monday to have 12 Bush administration lawyers disbarred for their roles in crafting the legal rationale for so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that many view as torture.

"It is time to hold these lawyers accountable for violating their legal oath," Kevin Zeese, an attorney for the coalition, said in a written statement.

"Just as the bar would suspend an attorney who advised a police officer to torture and brutalize a detained immigrant or criminal defendant, the bar must suspend these attorneys for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees. The disciplinary boards that hear these complaints must act or they will be seen as complicit in the use of torture."

Zeese called disbarment "an important step toward the ultimate accountability of criminal prosecution."

The group registered formal complaints against David Addington, John Ashcroft, Stephen Bradbury, Jay Bybee, Michael Chertoff, Douglas Feith, Alice Fisher, Timothy Flanigan, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes II, Michael Mukasey, and John Yoo.

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soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Maybe the ACLU Lawyers need their license to practice law if their actions cause the death of anyone, especially an armed forces member over the pictures of enhanced interrogation they demand.

    May 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Proud DHS radical

    And I guess Obama's lawyers and advisors will face criminal charges and disbarment when Obama leaves office in 2013. What a bunch of loons!

    May 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. southerncousin

    I definitley think that everyone the libs think can think of, should be put on trial, maybe the public backlash when the cost of this and all of the "not guilty" verdicts will drive them back in their dope smoking holes, where they belong and show the nation and the world what a dangerous, degrading and stupid political leaning it is.

    May 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Robert J

    How can attorney's responsible at the highest levels of our countries administration be allowed to continue to practice law after violating the basic ethics of law. As even stupid GW said. We are a nation of laws. Lawyers who cannot be trusted regading the prcatice of law should loose their livelyhood and community standing! Police who volaite civil and human rights are not exempt from prosecution. Why whould Ascroft / gomnzales and the rest be any different. Why should Bush and Cheney who expounded to be our "leaders" and sanctioned these lawyers activities are as guilty as they are.Will we continue to trun our heads? If we do we will become weaker and weaker as a society and as a nation

    May 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. peter

    I fully agree, these lawyers took an oath to uphold the LAW. I don't care who their boss is, they must uphold the law. If we lay aside our humanity then we are worse than the people responsible for flying those planes into the twin towers.

    May 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Once again, we're going after the "little" players. Get the big cojones and go after the big guys that not only hired them in the first place, but dismissed the report from another set of lawyers advising them about the lack of "legality" of what they proposed to do. Good lord! We have to resolve this cr*p because we are being called to the table on this. Either we're a country with two-faces, or we're finally going to stand up and say we screwed up, royally!

    May 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. F-Dog

    A lawyer can be disbarred for deceit, malpractice, and gross misconduct, among others. These guys in question messed up royally. Was it incompetence? In such case, should they be able to preside over important courts? If they were willful, should they face criminal trials?

    Saying something is in the past and we should let it go is simply foolish. Should we then free all criminals? Their actions were in the past.

    May 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Tom Paine

    Disbarment for offering reasoned legal advice as part of their job in the DOJ?

    Good luck with that, lefty wing-nuts.

    Also, for those talking about Clinton on here, get the facts straight. He lied under oath – in front of a federal judge – and only had his law license suspended for 5 years.

    Clinton should have at least been disbarred. But, I didn't hear any of these "progressive groups" calling for that.

    May 18, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. lived9lives

    Isn't this equivalent to the AIG/Auto Execs. mess? The American people supposedly wanted punishment for them yet once they showed up riding coach class and driving hybrids THAT was enough to shut people up. Just when did the laws of this country have NO meaning and NO expectation of criminal punishment? Bottom line – they won't be prosecuted and if they are "disbarred" = "badge of honor" they will write their books, hit the talk show circuit, be high profile CNN interviews and be nominated to office by the Republican party. Yes, Americans just keep rewarding criminals.

    May 18, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Grace Needed, NY

    Excuse us, those who don't think lawyers should be disbarred for finding a way around the law to make torture appear legal! This is a travesty of justice for those who went to jail doing the dirty work that these lawyers initiated. What's more former Vice President Cheney, not only got them to find away around the law but 'deep sixed' any other opinions and advice from getting to the former President and possibly the Secretary of State Rice, who should have done research and review herself. CLEARLY, waterboarding is torture and is against our Constitution and international laws we've agreed to. If we don't indict and prosecute our own, the international community will. I am just so sorry to the people who were imprisoned, with no chance for trial and then tortured too under MY American government. We could NOW be seen as similar to the Spanish Inquisition and/or Stalin's Russia! What an embarrassment and humiliation, as well as shame.

    May 18, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    get them on the run and chase them out of government and to jail
    they need a taste of their own medicine. these few people do not represent our countries passion on life or human rights
    hopefully it will show the rest of the world that we will not stand for this kind of human abuse
    pick Cheney ,Rove and the rest of the cronnies up on the way to court and put them in jail too

    May 18, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. J of K

    Congress gave their approval at the time, NOW they want to demonize everyone else, but like Pelosi, claim "I knew nothing, I knew nothing". If one single person is prosecuted, then ALL, including congress, should be prosecuted.

    May 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Same Old White House

    once again. Liberals with their own agenda that differs from the president. Do all you liberals not like your president? You all seem to be at odds with him and going your own direction when President Obama said not to.

    May 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Jon in CA

    @ Moderate Democrat says,

    "Just think, if we waterboard our children they will be much better! "

    -----–

    Keep your day job. Your satirical commentary is about as funny as the video of Daniel Pearl getting his head sawed off or the splattering of World Trade Center workers hitting the ground after falling 70 stories.

    If you disagree with waterboarding – then don't lead an islamic jihad and kill 3000+ innocent American civilians.

    May 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    Disbar, jail, and waterboard! Sounds about right to me!

    May 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. mw

    Good idea as long as the people voted into office last Nov do not get sidetracked from doing the job they have been elected to do.

    May 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Uncle Ellsworthy

    Just the word "Progressive" is enough to turn most thinking folks off. They do not in any way represent the majority of Americans, both Democrat and Republican alike. They are the lunatic (literally) fringe for sure. Most if not all of their ideas are completely dangerous for this country. Hopefully reason will prevail, even the President has apparently seen what reality really is since he has called off the photo fiasco. Thank God he will listen to his generals, they know more than any so called "progressive" group.

    May 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. TCM

    "...A coalition of progressive groups..." That sounds like terrorists...the only difference is they're hear, and the speak English. They want to destroy the United States as much as the taliban.

    May 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Why bother with the lawyers? They were just stooges. The guilty are Bush and his rotten administration.

    May 18, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Go git 'em! They broke their oath. But I suspect that their "opinions" were dictated from on high. Don't you?

    May 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Mark

    It's in the past and we should let it go – except what Pelosi knew and when she knew it. Apparently that's not in the past and shouldn't be let go. Republican hypocrisy and distraction at its finest!

    I'll be sure to use that excuse that if I rob a bank and they catch me an hour later – it's in the past, why don't you let it go? ALL prosecutions are after the fact!

    May 18, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Dave, the truth teller

    Liberal pukes are hypocrits. How about kicking out the Dems that supported "enhanced interrogation" and then lied about it? Oops, can't do that, must look forward now. Idiots that elect the Pelossis, Kennedys, and Franks of the world over and over are nothing but simple-minded sheep. Come on Libs, call me something original. I feed on your hate....

    May 18, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Walter

    If the German bar had taken responsibility for the actions of its members with greater courage and determination 70 years ago, a great deal of human misery might have been avoided.

    At a minimum, the profession would have had clean(er) hands when an accounting was finally required.

    May 18, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. nick

    I think Fox News is paying people to blog on this CNN Ticker. Their comments all seem to have the same trends and phrases and they are always aimed at the Pres. even when He or his adm. have nothing to do with the story or article being presented.

    May 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Moderate Democrat

    Yea, This torturing totally got us great results:

    We found the WMD's, Located and brought to justice Bin Laden, ended BOTH wars quickly and with no human loss. No more bombs are going off anywhere and terrorism is defeated world wide! Al Qaeda is no longer around, nor is the Taliban. All of this was accomplished because of torture. You left wing lunatics need to know the facts! Yea! Didn't you hear: "Mission Accomplished!"

    Oh, wait......

    May 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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