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GOP Threat to Link Memo Release to Johnsen/Koh Filibuster?:
Scott Horton reports, via Jack Balkin:
  Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to "go nuclear" over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration's abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration's darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.
  I don't know if this is true. But if it is, it makes me eager to see those memos.

  UPDATE: I have closed the comment thread, as the initial comments suggest that this topic is mostly triggering thoughtless ideological sniping that isn't worth anyone's time to read.
CDU (mail) (www):

But if it is, it makes me eager to see those memos.

I don't know if the level of opposition is any indication of how interesting the memos are. Have any of these Republican Senators actually see these memos, or are they just trying to prevent their release based on the same stuff that everyone else already knows?
4.7.2009 12:55am
John Moore (www):
Hmmm... some of JFK's stuff is still secret, but everyone just can't wait to dig in Bush's legacy.

BDS is still a major epidemic in the land.
4.7.2009 1:04am
Thomasly (mail):
Me too. I can't stand Koh's politics, and it would be great to Bork him.

(Maybe that's not what Orin means.)
4.7.2009 1:11am
Sarcastro (www):
Vengeance is a dish best served 20 years later by those in high office.

And dude, those Republicans are awesome! Fighting for something they don't know at the expense of allowing the Executive to run well? That's Hard Core!
4.7.2009 1:18am
RPT (mail):
John Moore:

Don't you agree that sunlight is the best disinfectant? It takes quite a while to recover from the BushDisasterS. And, since you don't know what's in the memos, of what is there to be afraid? More trenchant legal analysis? Cites to the Youngstown case? Only the guilty have something to hide, isn't that what you say?
4.7.2009 1:25am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

I don't know if this is true. But if it is, it makes me eager to see those memos.


It makes me eager to see the memos they aren't trying to release. As Ted Stevens just learned, withholding a few memos can change things pretty radically.

Still, it seems like a good idea. So let's make sure we're getting everything -- release all the memos, pro and con. While we're at it, let's release the memos and opinions that were issued when rendition was made policy (Clinton). And all the memos between Holder and the White House about pardons in 1991. And let's make sure the releases and selections are made by a committee consisting of Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, and Ann Coulter (she's a lawyer, after all.)
4.7.2009 1:50am
Commenterlein (mail):
Beautiful. If anyone manages to get the Republicans to make these threats on the record, it should doom their electoral chances for at least two or three cycles.

Personally, I think I will be sitting out many more cycles.
4.7.2009 1:51am
Brian K (mail):
so I guess up or down votes are just for judges?

and what ever happened to the unitary executive theory anyway not that obama is in office?
4.7.2009 2:27am
Nessuno:
Out of all the reasons to finally get tough, the Republicans pick this?

Very bizarre.
4.7.2009 2:28am
Jake LaRow (mail):
Agreed with most of above. Considering the amount of Obama's failed nominees to date; what makes these two so special that Obama would be willing to hold back said memos to get a pass on the nomination?

In light of some of the Bush bashing Obama has done with respect to the economy, why not use this opportunity to get another dig at Bush and the Republicans?

It seems to me that perhaps either these memos are not as damning as is being speculated or, if Obama is willing to sit on them for his two nominees, then perhaps he isn't as much hope and change as he claimed.
4.7.2009 2:39am
The River Temoc (mail):
It seems to me that perhaps either these memos are not as damning as is being speculated or, if Obama is willing to sit on them for his two nominees, then perhaps he isn't as much hope and change as he claimed.

If the memos aren't so damning, why do the Senate Republicans care so much about suppressing them?
4.7.2009 2:43am
Jake LaRow (mail):
<i>If the memos aren't so damning, why do the Senate Republicans care so much about suppressing them?</i>

Because I can't see this administration being duplicitous in this matter. How would this play out in the media? Obama holding back damning evidence that evil Bush supported torture all for the sake of two nominees? Perhaps they have all back taxes paid?

It doesn't pass the sniff test.
4.7.2009 3:09am
Jake LaRow (mail):
Damn, I can never get this formatting down.
4.7.2009 3:10am
Jeff Walden (www):
"darkest secrets"? Could we have a little more melodrama there, please? I don't think that was enough for everyone to recognize it.
4.7.2009 3:14am
Jeff Walden (www):
Oh, I agree that this does seem like an odd choice for a hill to die on, particularly given that these memos were, as I understand it, the ones the administration backed down from in subsequent years. However, I still think giving government lawyers the freedom to give candid advice without threat of future retribution is worth doing, and I still don't like how Obama's hamstringing future administrations (not to mention his own).
4.7.2009 3:18am