Romney's Disturbing Legal Team

Mitt Romney may not be as much of a right wing ideologue as many of his opponents in the Republican primary, but he’s trying hard to pretend that he is. Look at who is on his team of legal advisers:

On Tuesday, Romney released a list of the 63 lawyers on his Justice Advisory Committee, designed to advise his presidential campaign on legal policy and in some cases provide legal counsel. Its most famous name: former Ronald Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, whose nomination was voted down by the Senate.

Yikes. That’s scary enough. It gets worse:

Prime among them is Steven Bradbury, one of 13 “prominent lawyers” singled out on the list by Romney’s campaign. Bradbury led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2005 to 2009 and signed three 2005 memos reassuring the CIA and the DOJ that techniques like waterboarding were legal even when combined with another harsh technique. Those reaffirmed the 2002 memos that were written primarily by John Yoo and signed by Jay Bybee, who was Bradbury’s predecessor in the office.

I guess Orly Taitz was busy.

With all of the criticism I’ve made of Barack Obama for his litany of constitutional abuses, this is one area where there is still a clear difference between him and the Republicans — the people they would appoint to the Supreme Court. Though Obama himself has used the Constitution as virtual toilet paper for the past 2 1/2 years, his picks for the Supreme Court have turned out to be pretty good so far. Anyone a Republican president would appoint would certainly be infinitely worse when it comes to the Bill of Rights and equality issues.

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  • Phillip IV

    For me it’s already scary enough that a political campaign needs a committee of sixty-three lawyers, to begin with.

    Bork’s name does carry some weight with Republicans – not that most of them know anything about him besides that he was nominated for SCOTUS by Reagan. But they don’t need to know anything more.

  • John Hinkle

    Nothing elite about having all them lawyers. Nope, nothing elite at all. And I bet some of them are from the northeast.

  • Ben P

    For me it’s already scary enough that a political campaign needs a committee of sixty-three lawyers, to begin with.

    Having done this for a state rep and a judicial election or two, this is not a committee offering large amounts of substantive real advice to Romney.

    It’s virtually certain that Romney’s campaign already has a paid in-house general counsel and probably associates with a couple outside law firms for work and legal advice.

    I’m also quite certain Romney has any number of close friends who he’d probably go to for advice on legal issues. One just doesn’t get advice from a group of 63 people.

    His “justice advisory committee” is more fundraising and political oriented than it is advice oriented. It gives lawyers interested in the Romney campaign a way to participate. From their end, it’s a pre-req to being on “the list” when potential president Romney starts making appointments that should be filled with lawyers.

  • Tualha

    Ah, I see. Just as Obama pretended to be a liberal until he got elected, then turned out to be moderately conservative, Romney will pretend to be a Tea-Party looney until he gets elected, then will turn out to be moderately conservative.

  • llewelly

    Tualha | August 3, 2011 at 11:30 am :

    Ah, I see. Just as Obama pretended to be a liberal until he got elected…

    In both of his books he painted himself as moderately conservative. His campaign did promise a few concessions to the left, but his campaign was clear that those were concessions, and not indicators of overall policy direction. “change” meant “change back to Clintonism”. The widespread belief that Obama was a liberal had no basis in Obama’s campaign. On the contrary, it was a claim made by the Republicans, who were trying to terrorize their base. In the short run, it seems it backfired, as many people believed it, and campaigned harder for Obama than they might otherwise have.