from the speech by Michael Mukasey at the Federalist Society just before he passed out and was taken to a hospital (he is fine.)
as reported in James Taranto in the WSJ
Earlier this year, the head of a legal organization that prides itself on what it calls its “nonpartisan approach to the law” gave a speech condemning what he called “the oppressive, relentless, and lawless attack by our own government on the rule of law and our liberty.” According to this person, we live now in a–“time of repression” where the “word ‘Patriot’ names a statute that stifles liberty,” and where we face “assaults by our government on constitutional rights, the Separation of Powers, and the Geneva Conventions.” You can practically hear the rumble of tanks in the background.
It is interesting–and telling–that even in the published, written version of these remarks by a lawyer, the references and footnotes are not to statutory texts, the Constitution, treaties, or laws. Instead, the author relied on such authorities as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Review of Books. This style of criticism can be called many things–provocative perhaps, or evidence that the author could be regarded by some as well-read–but what it cannot be called is a reasoned legal critique.
Also completely absent from these remarks, and from many remarks like it, is any fair appraisal of the legal issues actually involved or an acknowledgement of the difficulty or novelty of the legal questions confronted by the administration lawyers who made these decisions.