Thursday, November 19, 2009

Graham accuses Holder of "making bad history"

I have often been critical of Lindsey Graham through the years, but he hit it out of the park yesterday in his questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. If you did not see it, watch part of it here.

Andy McCarthy continues his devastating analysis of Holder's testimony at the Corner today and asks "How Hard Can AG Holder Have Studied The KSM Question?" 
...The lawyer's stock in trade is precedent. Whether you're a prosecutor or any other lawyer faced with a policy question, the first thing you want to know is what the law says on the subject: Has this come up before? Are there prior cases on point? What have the courts had to say? Those are the first-order questions — always.

Here's the relevant transcript:

SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah, nor do I. But here's my concern. Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?

ATTY GEN. HOLDER: [ACM: LONG PAUSE] I don't know. I'd have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I've made —

SEN. GRAHAM: We're making history here, Mr. Attorney General. I'll answer it for you. The answer is no.

ATTY GEN. HOLDER: Well, I think —

SEN. GRAHAM: ... The Ghailani case — he was indicted for the Cole bombing before 9/11. And I didn't object to it going into federal court. But I'm telling you right now. We're making history and we're making bad history.

How could Holder possibly not know the answer to this fundamental question — how could he, in fact, be stumped by it. If he studied and agonized over this decision as he says he did, this would have been the first issue he'd have considered: the fact that there was no legal precedent for what he wanted to do. [snip]

Of course, if, as I've suggested, this is a political decision rather than a legal one, it would make perfect sense that the Attorney General wasn't up to speed on legal precedent. The law isn't what's driving this train.
Read the whole thing.

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