May 18th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
6 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. Uncle Ellsworthy

    If attorneys in general could be disbarred simply because they gave a legal opinion that some folks disagree (even if these folks are in the minority) with in the future we wouldn't have very many attorneys do you think. Course the thing to remember is "what goes around comes around", the current administration and folks attached thereto will not be in office forever. Guess they haven't thought about that.............typical.

    May 18, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Question . . . why all the uproar if the Bush Administration didn't do anything wrong? Also, is Pelosi the sole member of the Intelligence Committee and therefore the only person receiving a briefing, or were others "briefed" during the time she was briefed? If others were present, why are they silent now? A truth commission is needed to get to the truth, including the very lawyers and lawmakers who rewrote laws for the sole purpose of breaking exsisting laws. Very unconstitutional.

    May 18, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Daisy Cloud-NY

    Rebugs...are the ones that needs to Aapologize to the American, and the countries that went into Iraq . We should not be hearing from you, have you no shame, look at what's happening to the people who are loosing their jobs, homes, 401's, and buisnesses.. It's trutly your fault for voting not once but twice for Mr. WMD and Duby's kiss of death. And were are they, in thier beautiful mansions, living it up to the fullest, and we poor folks fighting over who started it first. Childs play better and nicer than us grown up do. Truly sad, for us and for those who go around pointing fingers and knowing they are the ones to blame.

    May 18, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. alienwords.com

    I'm an "alien" just trying to learn about the meanings of some english words... I did not know what the word "torture" meant, but when I heard this sound first time, a group of boys are laughing, playing their PC games, and I feel myself like a stone in someone's hand.

    May 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Gonzo in Houston

    @ Dave the truth teller, May 18, 12:58

    Come on Libs, call me something original. I feed on your hate….

    Sorry Dave, but after reading and considering your post, all I have for you is pity.

    May 18, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Cheryl

    Interesting the way some discussions on this blog get jumped on so fiercely by the strident voices who shout the loudest and fling the most insults but don't support their ideas with logical arguments.

    Almost as if there was an organized effort to suppress certain ideas. Almost as if someone out there is very threatened by this discussion of prosecuting the Bush lawyers. Threatened enough to hire trolls to disrupt the free exchange of ideas. Hmmm, I wonder who would that threatened?

    May 18, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Glen

    I think this is a good move. We also need to investigate those under Clinton as well, who sent detainees to countries who really knew how to carry out torture. I know that Mr Holder would gladly provide information on this. It's time to investigate all living advisors to the White House. A good witch hunt makes for great reality television.

    May 18, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    the left-wing vendetta continues. Hate, hate, and more hate........ I would rather be waterboarded than listen to one more piece of liberal fiction.

    May 18, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Chris from NY

    I say if we can't try to convict them disbar them. They can't just get away with this. This is the misuse of power I have ever seen in my life time.

    May 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Becky

    And if these attorneys are disbarred, you know they'll be calling for George W, Cheney, and Rove to be prosecuted.

    Was torture part of what George W was referring to when he said he didn't follow all the necessary "policies" to getting things done? aka following the U.S. Constitution? Oh, just small details, my friends.

    May 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Becky

    "It's in the past let it go."

    America's reputation is ruined, and us fixing our past is the only way to make an honest step forward. Would you say "It's in the past let it go," toward Nazi war criminals? I didn't think so.

    May 18, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. MESA MICK

    HEY RAY RAY...
    Obviously your not a lawyer or you would know you CAN BE DISBARRED for the types of legal opinions these people contrived to legitimize a known criminal activity.
    Can you say Nazi war crimes trials Ray Ray?

    If you read this article carefully you should recognize that this is not a witch hunt by politios – It's other lawyers doing the accusing. If you don't get that point your opinion is worthless...

    May 18, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. shucks

    This is what needs to happen, not stringing up Pelosi for something that she was breifed on 7 years ago. Heck, Ollie North couldn't remember things that he lied about within a couple months of when it happened. This is absolutely ironic that the republicans would be asking anyone to resign or apologize for lies.

    May 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Bill in Austin

    If the administration is going to go after the leaders (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield et al.), then they should go all the way. If not, then those down the food chain deserve a pass too.

    May 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Linda iowa

    All this hate and name calling shows a lack of intelligence. If you can not make your case without it then please don't try. It is a difference of opinion with open minded debate that makes our country great. We need this. It is this type of rhetoric that most of us from either party would like to see "in the past". The extremism hurts all of us. "In all things moderation". I do not need to move to another country because my opinion might be different from yours. I cherish my right to have my opinion and I cherish yoiur right to yours, but please espress without hate.

    May 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. neil

    I wish these guys were as determined to catch the animals who dismembered and really tortured our troops in Iraq

    May 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. GOP = 21st century dodo

    "Just the word "Republican" 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."

    See, it works both ways.

    May 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. V. Clausewitz

    Liberal fascists. Are they going after Pelosi too?

    May 18, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. shucks

    Dave the liar, you really aren't worth the effort. Sorry. oops, I just wasted 30 seconds of my time. Still your not worth it.

    May 18, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Andi

    Way to twist words to fit your needs, everyone! Be careful what you wish for. The very, very heart of this issue is the fact that then-President Bush assured American citizens and the rest of the world 'we do not torture'.

    What do you think would have happened if ANY congressperson questioned waterboarding in 2002? Would that have stopped it? Why go after the 'little' people. If anyone should be punished for lying and breaking the law, it should go back to the men who started this whole thing, don't you think?

    May 18, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. panem et circenses

    So what exactly did these lawyers do wrong? They delivered an interpretation of the law. Which is exactly what the Supreme Court does. And based on those yahoos, at least 4 of them can't even read the constitution but aren't being disbarred for it...

    May 18, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Ted Tartaglia

    Even though attorneys are often equated with sharks and jackals, this bunch of fools are an embarrassment to all members of the human race. When persons trained in the law try to use the law to justify unlawful actions, they deserve to be disbarred forever and then prosecuted under for their crimes. Cheney and Bush should also be prosecuted because they were the driving force behind all the torture and torture memos. Don't let the rats escape.

    May 18, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. vl

    Arrogant fascist left! This is getting scary. I've never seen such a vindictive group. Can the left just govern and quit this scary political garbage.

    May 18, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. mike

    Jon In CA:

    Where you been, man! Always enjoyed your posts. Not too many of us left in California!
    Keep posting brother!

    May 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. tess

    PELOSI – PELOSI – PELOSI – have they perhaps overlooked someone who actually did do something wrong, like LYING TO CONGRESS and accusing our national intelligence officers of lying to her! what a disgrace but because she is a democrat these progressives" (otherwise known as flaming liberals) seem not to see her problems – what a joke all these idiots are!!!!!!!!

    May 18, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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