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Professional Independence in the Office of the Attorney General


Publication Date: 
April 01, 2008
Journal Article
Bibliography: Norman W. Spaulding, Professional Independence in the Office of the Attorney General, 60 Stanford Law Review 1931 (2008).


Warrantless surveillance, extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention, torture. These are the most serious charges of extralegal conduct by the present administration--conduct which, in one form or another, Attorneys General Ashcroft and Gonzales and their staffs have attempted to give the imprimatur of law. The charges are serious indeed. To them, lesser charges could be added (cronyism, distortion of enforcement priorities, abuse of prosecutorial discretion). What are we to make of the fact that the nation's highest legal officers, not to mention a good number of their subordinates, have been drawn so willingly, it would appear, into a position of complicity with, if not outright endorsement of, extralegal conduct at odds with our most fundamental constitutional and democratic commitments?