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November 26, 2008 5:28 PM
Posted by Bruce Ramsey
The outburst by Justice Richard Sanders—“Tyrant! You are a tyrant!”—during a speech by U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was surely bad manners. But there are worse sins. Torture. Starting a war for bad reasons. Holding prisoners without trial indefinitely, year after year. Here was the Attorney General of the United States, speaking to the Federalist Society, and praising the Federalists for “taking the Constitution seriously and understanding it to be a legal document, rather than an empty vessel”—and then giving a marketing spiel for the Bush administration’s stretching of the Constitution. Well, Sanders couldn’t take it sitting down, so he stood up.
I like Sanders. My first column in the Times was about a Sanders dissent, agreeing with him. He has a bias—he favors the liberty of the individual and is skeptical of the asserted powers of government—but it is the same bias as mine, so I excuse it. Furthermore, he is bold. He is not much bound by political correctness. Here he interjected five words in the midst of an official’s speech. It was not the same as trying to shout the speaker down, as the campus Left is so often guilty of. It was merely indecorous—and also amusing. I figure the Bush people had it coming.
Especially from a member of the Federalist Society.
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