John Yoo and His Merry Band of Traitorous Lawyers:
The Rude Pundit has always looked on the Constitution fondly, like an old lover who occasionally calls to reminisce about all those wonderful steamy evenings in fine hotels in Boston and Philadelphia, that passionate headboard-thumping sex, the mornings in each other's arms, romantic, simple, idealized in memory, yet still viscerally exciting to recall. A Bush administration conservative, though, looked at the Constitution like a one-night stand bar pick-up that they can tell their buddies about later, high-fiving one another over tales of how one degraded that bitch, made her feel like shit as he fucked her in the ass and then said how fat she was, tied her up and pissed on her, and then took cell phone pictures of her when she finally passed out with her arms and legs still roped apart, laughing because, well, she may be a person, but why not use her 'til she's used up?
It's been said here before and, until someone's mea culpa'ed this shit, it's gonna be said again that John Yoo should not be allowed anywhere near law students. In fact, there should be aversion shock therapy on his nutsack so that if he even thinks about teaching constitutional law, he'll feel that sharp, grinding pain in his balls. For reading the memoranda from the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel written by Yoo, Jay Bybee, and others is not unlike listening to a particularly articulate tweener explain why it's okay to get a tattoo of the Halo Master Chief on his forearm. No matter how rational-sounding it may be, you know that ultimately it's bullshit.
The memos themselves are little doorways into the fact that, until they were repudiated, the executive branch of our government, post 9/11, decided that the Constitution was for suckers and bin Laden's bitches and, like that beaten bar pick-up, just there to use to get its rocks off.
Look at the June 27, 2002 memo. There, in giving Constitutional cover to the idea that the laws of the United States do not apply to the President as long as some vague idea of "war" is occurring, Yoo writes, "The fact that a detainee is an American citizen, thus, does not affect the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief to detain him, once it was been determined that he is an enemy combatant." They don't need to have done anything to be so determined, just have been "associated" with whoever has been vaguely defined as the "enemy." Or as Yoo says, "Nothing further need be demonstrated to justify their detention as enemy combatants."
Yoo went through what becomes a near-Joycean word game to say, at bottom, that the President can imprison a citizen without charge for as long as he damn well pleases. That would seem to be in complete opposition to the U.S. criminal code, which reads, "No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress." And you know that when Congress said that George W. Bush can go get 'em some 9/11 terr'ists, they meant that Bush can lock up citizens and deny them habeas corpus rights. Well, at least Yoo says that's what the authorization meant.
Sometimes the memos are nearly breathtaking in their authors' desire to completely undermine what seems to be the straightforward meaning of the articles and amendments of the Constitution. In the April 8, 2002 memo arguing against a congressional act that sought to create rules for detention and military tribunals, Patrick Philbin essentially says that checks and balances are "fucking bullshit." (That's not an exact quote, but it is approximate.)
The Rude Pundit has mentioned the 2002 memos because they were not written in the heat of the desperate flailing about that the Bush administration engaged in after 9/11. These were considered actions by people who truly don't give a sad rat's fuck about what makes America American. The damned soul of Richard Nixon must be repeatedly slapping his enormous forehead, wondering why the hell he didn't think about doing this, shaking his fist and screaming, "Haldeman, goddamn you." Meanwhile, the ghost of James Madison wonders how in the fuck anyone could interpret the damn document to mean that a Commander in Chief is essentially a king. An ever-masturbating Ben Franklin just shakes his head.