Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Torture Prosecutions in Obama Administration, According to Anonymous Aides

Aides to Obama (speaking anonymously, of course) have said that the Justice Department under President-Elect Obama will probably not prosecute individuals who committed torture using controversial tactics such as waterboarding. Although Obama opposes torture (it feels funny typing something that seems so basic - but that's how deeply wrong Bush and Cheney are), the aides say that prosecution of any interrogators is highly unlikely. If this leaked information reflects forthcoming policy by the Obama administration, then human rights experts who have pushed Democrats to punish wrongdoers might not succeed in bringing alleged torturers to justice.

Some commentators believe that Bush could offer "pre-emptive pardons" to interrogators, thus negating the issue of any prospective prosecutions. I am not sure whether the notion of a pre-emptive pardon exists from a constitutional perspective. Even if it is an open question, this does not seem like an issue a federal court would decide. A court would likely define the matter as presenting a "political question" (for laypersons, this means an issue that is unfit for judicial resolution) or dismiss any litigation for lack of standing.

Source: CBSNews.Com

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