Friday, January 23, 2009
Quite a few people think that - now that they are out of office - it is too late to try Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and the rest of the boys for their crimes.
Even those who support prosecutions think it probably won't happen. For example, Dave Lindorff wrote today:
The likelihood of their being indicted and brought to trial now that they have left office is exceedingly slim.
The truth, however, is that it is a much better time to prosecute the criminals then when they were in office.
Because, as an attorney has previously pointed out:
It is unlikely that a court would allow high-level officials such as a sitting president or vice president to be tried until they leave office after the end of their designated term or through impeachment and removal. This is because the constitutional "separation of powers" doctrine provides that one branch of government, such as the judiciary, cannot unduly interfere with the workings of another branch, such as the executive branch. It is clear that, pursuant to federal statutes, a sitting president cannot be tried criminally, although it has not been decided whether the president can be indicted (the first step in the criminal process) while in office or whether the vice president has the same protections as the president. Thus, even if a court did not dismiss a lawsuit outright on sovereign immunity grounds, it would almost certainly stay (i.e. pause) any lawsuit against the president and vice president.
Now that the boys are out of office, prosecutions can move forward. It is the perfect time to prosecute.