Lederman Joining Obama Administration

From Ben Smith:

A Georgetown source forwards over an email from that school's administration, reporting that Professor Marty Lederman's class will be canceled -- because he's joining the Obama administration.

Lederman, another former Clinton Office of Legal Counsel lawyer, is perhaps the most prominent of several high-profile opponents of the Bush Administration's executive power claims joining Obama, a mark that he intends not just to change but to aggressively reverse Bush's moves on subjects like torture. . . . Lederman has been . . . an early and vocal critic of torture, and has suggested Bush Administration officials have committed specific crimes in that regard.

Bob Shrum must be upset about this development. I on the other hand am incredibly pleased.

Speaking for me only

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    Prof. Marty Lederman (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:53:42 PM EST
    is also a blogger, at Balkinization, and formerly also at SCOTUSBlog.  His electronic "paper trail" is extensive and forthright.

    In a Balkanization post (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:24:56 PM EST
    July 08, 2007, Lederman grouped all of his, Mark Graber's, Stephen Griffin's, Scott Horton's, Sandy Levinson's, David Luban's, Brian Tamanaha's, Jack Balkin's and a few others posts "on the complex of issues raised by torture, interrogation, detention, war powers, Executive authority, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Legal Counsel" together under the heading The Anti-Torture Memos: Balkinization Posts on Torture, Interrogation, Detention, War Powers, Executive Authority, DOJ and OLC

    That is quite encouraging (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:43:32 PM EST
    Almost 600 posts... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 10:05:19 PM EST
    This is a good sign... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:07:54 PM EST

    What is his job going to be? (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:29:19 PM EST
    I've been in pre-celebratory mode with some patriotic Maker's Mark and I didn't catch what this fellow's job is going to be.  And what does he have to do with Bob Shrum?

    Oh, never mind.  This is a wonderful moment.  I feel such a sense of deliverance just knowing that Bush will BE GONE TOMORROW!

    OK, I scrolled down (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Radiowalla on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 09:32:10 PM EST
    to the previous entry and now I see how Shrum figures in the mix.

    Now back to the Maker's Mark.  To hell with Bob Shrum.


    Jack Balkin (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 12:47:21 AM EST

    Some of you may have noticed that Marty Lederman has not been blogging recently at Balkinization. The reason is that he has been working on the Department of Justice Transition team. As of today, the commencement of the Obama Administration, he begins work as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. There he will be joined by two of his former OLC colleagues, Dawn Johnsen, nominated to be head of the office; and David Barron, who will serve as the Principal Deputy (and as the Acting AAG while the Senate considers Dawn's nomination).

    The job he got is the same one (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:48:08 AM EST
    held by Yoo when he wrote the Torture Memos (for Bybee's signature) and who-knows-what other Constitutional abortions.

    In other words, Obama just put one of Yoo's harshest critics - and one who kept his criticism on purely intellectual-honesty type grounds - into Yoo's old job, doubtless with the direction "clean things up".

    This - assuming Marty can put into policy what he's been putting on the blogs - is a hugely positive development.

    I had hoped for Lederman to get the OLC head job, but this is just as good.


    Here is Marty Lederman (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 05:30:19 AM EST
    in a two and a half minute clip with Elisa Massimino and David Rivkin discussing guidelines for interrogation, and the Army field manual. Note Marty's comments beginning at the two minute mark.

    Considering the person (none / 0) (#14)
    by ai002h on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 03:48:39 AM EST
    who actually got the OLC job (Dawn Johnson) is great in her own right, it makes this even better.

    So, BTD (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 04:59:39 AM EST
    When are you joining the OLC? ;-)

    After me (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 08:02:12 AM EST
    I need the paycheck.

    More than that, I've been saying a lot of the same things as Balkin and Lederman and, it turns out, Johnsen, only I've been doing it between trying to keep my head above water, financially, in an environment where what I've had to say has been ... less than fully welcome and, more important, less than relevant to the issues at hand (like, settling that case, or wrangling with the Clerk because the papers didn't fit the only form the Judge has the mental capacity to recognize, or working out a scheme to reduce to a second DUI the case against a client who's gotten their third, for the 39th time this calendar year).

    Of course, I didn't have the benefit of having gotten great grades from a top-drawer law school, and a clerkship and professorship and I've been out of school going on 20 years, so I have no or next to no hope of rising beyond "private practice, in debt but getting by".  I learned my law in a good school which produces good lawyers who are rarely, if ever, expected to rise to the levels of the jobs we're discussing.  My (and I) classmates are, by and large, the nuts-and-bolts lawyers who do the legal work for individuals who get hurt in accidents, need wills, have a crazy relative who needs a guardian, want to buy and sell houses, and get picked up for some low-level offense or crime.  I learned how to practice law and try cases in the time-honored way:  "between spoons of soup", as the saying goes, with a now-departed mentor who was a classics scholar, a one-man debating team, and a cigar-seller's dream.

    But, more to the point, I recognized immediately that what Yoo, Ashcroft, Bush, Cheney and all the rest of their lawyerly thugs were selling was wrong.  On moral, ethical, legal and constitutional grounds.  The first two were not a godd basis for argument because they had no importance to them - big surprise that self-proclaimed Christians were hypocrites and liars.  The third, they could and did manipulate.  

    The last, I learned courtesy of a couple sessions on military law - required in your officer's basic course - and self-study of the Constitution and American (and world) history.  Anyone with eyes could have seen the fallacies and errors they were spouting.  But, it was and is a measure of the absolute degeneracy of both the political and moral culture of Washington and the country, as well as the absolute abandonment of scruples by those who would rise in the legal profession beyond the level where I work, that those fallacies and errors reached the level of received Truth, and the best whores among them rose the fastest and farthest.

    I am neither so generous nor so merciful as to wish ill to the perpetrators - active or passive -of the wrongs that flowed from Bush's Oval Office.  Nor am I so naive as to expect that they will get what they truly deserve - the slime coating them is too thick to allow a firm grasp.

    But I would really like a job lawyering that I can count on to pay me more than the slightly-less-than subsistence I've been making the last couple years.  If only because I hate having my answering machine filled with calls from bill collectors.  And I'd like to be able to go out for pizza.


    Scribe (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:14:38 AM EST
    Marty's appointment has given me more respect for and confidence in Obama that anything else I can think of.

    Almost as much respect for and confidence in Obama that you getting the job would give me. ;-)

    You anti-yoo you.


    I'd be happy running the copier (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:37:07 AM EST
    in that office (for a while at least, until I wanted to do more), particularly if it came with a paycheck that allowed me to meet my bills.

    I quoted you and BTD (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:16:14 AM EST
    Very interesting! (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:00:24 PM EST
    It seems like every once in a while the transition team convulses and rejects torture.  Is it Obama who spearheads these efforts?  Who on the team is guiding the ship the right way, I wonder?  Who's that progressive mole?

    Trial balloons, perhaps, as in- (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 04:40:20 AM EST
    is anyone watching?

    F*ck Shrum (none / 0) (#12)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 01:51:58 AM EST
    If he and his ideas had been any good, he would have won.

    Couldn't we just put Donna on a raft (none / 0) (#13)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 02:23:25 AM EST
    and send her out to sea. We could all stand around on the shore and wish her good luck: "Bye, good luck, don't come back", and so on.

    I had visions (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 09:44:08 AM EST
    (or maybe nightmares) of Donna being selected to head the DNC.  

    Then we got Kaine.