Dan Abrams will be hosting a series of programs this week focusing on the abuses of the Bush Administration, particularly with regard to the Department of Justice. This is an important subject that gets far too little play in the press, but impacts everything from civil rights to political corruption to First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion, and so much more. The article announcing the program, penned by Abrams, covers all of these issues with the indignation of someone who loves the law and the fair administration of justice. Here are some selected excerpts:
“‘Bush League Justice’ is a series (airing Monday-Thursday at 9 pm on MSNBC) that stems from my increasing frustration and outrage over how the Bush Administration has politicized the usually apolitical Justice Department.”
“…this President has flipped the goals and mission of the [Civil Rights] Division and allowed it to become a tool of the radical right […] almost half of the new hires in that department who had ‘civil rights experience’ had ‘experience’ only in defending employers or -fighting- affirmative action.”
“The President has effectively declared the right to disobey more than 750 laws. From the interrogation of prisoners to torture to investigations by U.S. officials in Iraq, President Bush has added a caveat that says, ‘I will only enforce this if.’ So he is effectively telling Congress thanks for your advice on this law, but I reserve the right to ignore this law.”
“Maybe the most obvious betrayal of the public trust has been politically motivated prosecutions. A University of Minnesota study conducted this year shows that for every elected Republican investigated during this President’s tenure, there were seven elected Democrats investigated.”
“This series is long overdue. The scandal with the firings of the U.S. Attorneys under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales exposed the underbelly of this administration’s penchant for putting politics over objectivity and qualifications.”
The tone set by Abrams is both surprising and promising. He does not have the reputation of a firebrand activist, but he is clearly expressing something heartfelt in these comments. He was trained as a lawyer and his father, Floyd Abrams, is one of the most respected First Amendment attorneys of the 20th century. So perhaps Dan’s genetics are kicking in.
These issues are desperately in need of a champion, someone who can do for justice what Lou Dobbs does for immigration. And the protection and preservation of our Constitutional liberties is far more important than the racist scapegoating that demagogues like Dobbs engage in.
We’ll see, as the series unfolds, if Abrams’ passion for the law results in a broadcast that forthrightly exposes Bush’s contempt for fairness and equality in the administration of justice. There is a cornucopia of criminal misconduct to explore produced by both intent and incompetence. The scandals of the Alberto Gonzales era at DoJ have fallen from the media radar, but they are just as toxic to our nation’s future as ever. The political firings of department attorneys, the distortion of the mission of civil and voting rights prosecutions, the hiring of more than 150 lawyers from Pat Robertsons Regent University, the justification for torture, the disrespect for Congress and the doctrine of equal powers, the debasement of the Supreme Court – all of these matters need to be remembered and acted upon if our democracy is to endure.
An honest presentation of the record is indeed long overdue. An honest presentation should put to rest the question of whether impeachment ought to be on the table. I hope that these programs will finally provide what has been sorely lacking from a somnolent media for the past seven years: an honest presentation.