Good Faith

Via Ryan Powers, Representative Peter King (R-NY) outs himself as a huge torture enthusiast, saying “I think that Judge Bybee should be given a medal for what he did.” But he also argues that even if Bybee is a bad guy, he’s not a guy who deserves impeachment:

I think that Judge Bybee should be given a medal for what he did. But even if I disagreed with those memos, these are memos written in good faith. These well written, well reasoned memos. People may disagree with them, but he belongs on the bench. He should stay on the bench. And I think talk of impeaching him or going after him is again the worst type of political vindictiveness.

This argument from good faith is tactically convenient, so I don’t know how we can prove a lack of good faith. But it doesn’t seem relevant to me. If Bybee was acting in bad faith, just pretending to think torture is legal to please his boss, then that indicates a lack of professional ethics. But if Bybee was acting in good faith — if he genuinely believes that waterboarding somebody dozens of times doesn’t constitute “severe suffering” because it’s “simply a controlled acute episode” then we have a sociopath of some kind on the bench. I’m not 100 percent sure which is better.


In all honesty, though, I have serious doubts that anyone could, in good faith, offer “As we explained in the Section 2340A Memorandum, ‘pain and suffering’(as used in Section 2340) is best understood as a single concept, not distinct concepts of ‘pain’ as distinguished from ‘suffering’” as a legal basis for inflicting suffering on someone.