Monday, July 02, 2007

so, now the decider decides sentences, too

This just in: President Bush has commuted the sentence of convicted felon Scooter Libby:

WASHINGTON - President Bush commuted the sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on Monday, sparing him from a 2 1/2-year prison term that Bush said was excessive. Bush's move came hours after a federal appeals panel ruled Libby could not delay his prison term in the CIA leak case.

That meant Libby was likely to have to report to prison soon and put new pressure on the president, who had been sidestepping calls by Libby's allies to pardon the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

President Bush released a statement saying that he thought the 30-month sentence to be “excessive.” (This from a man who has tossed people into indefinite detention with out a trial.) However, as Nina Totenberg has observed, the Libby sentence was shorter than one handed down in a nearly identical case, and that sentence was just upheld by the Bush-packed US Supreme Court.

I guess being “The Decider” entitles you to be judge and jury—and the SCOTUS—too.

Of course, a commutation is not quite a pardon; Libby remains a convicted felon, and will likely be disbarred. Still, the commutation is an offensive slap in the face to all those who worked to dutifully fulfill the requirements of our nation’s laws and to all of us who still try to respect those laws. But will the nominal president’s half-nod to his master be enough to satisfy the “L’État c’est moi” set that kneel to their smirking god Dick?

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