Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined a growing chorus of conservatives condemning the McCarthy-like tactics of Keep America Safe, the new group led by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney, which recently released an ad questioning the loyalties of Justice Department lawyers who were once involved in representing al-Qaeda terror suspects. Today in the Wall Street Journal — without mentioning Cheney, Kristol, their group, or the ad — former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey denounced their campaign:
Most recently, lawyers now employed at the Justice Department who, while in private practice, volunteered to represent suspected terrorist detainees, or argued legal positions supporting various rights of such detainees, have been portrayed as in-house counsel to al Qaeda.
This is all of a piece, and what it is a piece of is something both shoddy and dangerous. A lawyer who represents a party in a contested matter has an ethical obligation to make any and all tenable legal arguments that will help that party.
Mukasey added that while it’s “prudent for us to assure that no government lawyers are bringing to their public jobs any agenda, … that prudence is not properly exercised by arguing that lawyers…are automatically to be identified with their former clients and regarded as a fifth column within the Justice Department.” “Liz Cheney is a former student of mine — I don’t know what moves her on this thing,” said University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, who called the Keep America Safe ad “appalling.”