Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Good Point

Over at Unqualified Offerings, Thoreau makes a good point, one that occurred to me but that I had never bothered to formulate or blog on:

Essentially, it boils down to if lawyers' legal opinions - later deemed incorrect - on an issue such as torture are used to absolve the people responsible for carrying out the orders of accontability, then the lawyers should be held accountable.

Despite talking points by a lot of neoconservative talk-show hosts about how liberals are trying to censor legal opinions, the fact of the matter is that by offering an opinion in an official capacity that encourages illegal behavior, the lawyer is more or less guilty of legal malpractice.

It is one thing to express an opinion as a private citizen, or to argue as to what the law should be. But to give legal advice with the express intent of making an act okay that would not be okay without the advice - that's not okay.

Of course, we need to see how deep this thing goes. One or two issues can be chalked up to political differences. But if there are consistent issues where a lawyer has advised the government to break the law, at a certain point accountability needs to be had.

That is all.

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