Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grassley Echoes McCarthy As Holder Echoes Welch

Attorney General Eric Holder, to the reprehensible Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) April 14, 2010, after hearing Grassley smear Justice Department lawyers who as private attorneys had previously represented Guantanamo inmates:
"There has been an attempt to take the names of the people who represent Guantanamo detainees and to drag their reputations through the mud. There were reprehensible ads in essence to question their patriotism. I'm not going to allow these kids -- I'm not going to be a part of this effort."

"And so, with all due respect, their names are out there now. The positions that they hold are out there. That's all been placed in the public record. I'm simply not going to be a part of that effort. I would not allow good, decent lawyers who have followed the greatest traditions of American jurisprudence, done what John Adams did, done what our chief justice has said is appropriate. I will not allow their reputations to be besmirched. I will not be a part of that."

Boston lawyer Joseph Welch, to the equally reprehensible Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) June 9, 1954, after hearing McCarthy smear Fred Fisher, a young associate in Welch's firm, for having once belonged, when a law student, to the National Lawyer's Guild (from Eric F. Goldman's "The Crucial Decade and After"):
"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us.

"When I decided to work for this committee [as lead attorney for the U.S. Army] I asked Jim St. Glair ... to be my first assistant. I said to Jim, 'Pick somebody in the firm who works under you that you would like.' He chose Fred Fisher and they came down on an afternoon plane. That night, when we had taken a little stab at trying to see what the case was about, Fred Fisher and Jim St. Clair and I went to dinner together. I then said to these two young men, 'Boys, I don't know anything about you except that I have always liked you, but if there is anything funny in the life of either one of you that would hurt anybody in this case you speak up quick.'

"Fred Fisher said, 'Mr. Welch, when I was in law school and for a period of months after, I belonged to the Lawyers Guild. I said, 'Fred, I just don't think I am going to ask you to work on the case. If I do, one of these days that will come out and go over national television and it will just hurt like the dickens.

"So Senator, I asked him to go back to Boston.

"Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true that he is still with Hale & Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale & Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me."

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