Obama the legal scholar screws up

Ed Lasky
When addressing families of terror victims regarding his decision to suspend military tribunals of suspected terrorists, President Obama "clearly didn't do his homework" according to the Washington Times. His own legal counsel Greg Craig admitted the President made mistakes when discussing details about terrorism and made a key error when he tried to explain the law to the families.

The column points out that terror suspects want as much information as they can so they can inform terror networks about the methods and people used by our government to track down terror suspects. This is one reason they dismiss their lawyers: they alone can receive these disclosures without having to go through the "filter" of a lawyer.

This facilitates terror in the future. Therefore, prosecutors want to minimize the information released to suspects and to courts; while terror suspects want to maximize the disclosure. When confronted with this conundrum, the President mistakenly interpreted basic Constitutional law. The Washington Times:


... Obama's answer to this conundrum was "there is no reason we have to give [the terrorists] everything." Evidently the former editor of the Harvard Law Review seems to think that one of his powers as president is personally to pick and choose which constitutional rights apply to terror defendants and which do not. That's the very thing they were criticizing President Bush for.

White House Counsel Greg Craig, often seen whispering in the president's ear during question periods, admitted later to Ms. Burlingame that the chief executive was getting the facts of the law wrong during the discussion with the families. Craig asked her if CIPA covers a case in which terrorists defend themselves, noting that "this is something we hadn't contemplated." If nothing else, this admission of ignorance is more evidence that the decision to rush ahead with closing Guantanamo and shutting down the military tribunals was ill-conceived, poorly planned, and may ultimately be injurious to our national security.

This is far from the first time that Barack Obama erred in his understanding of the law. He has a pattern of making similar mistakes, as I pointed out in Barack Obama, Legal Scholar . This should come as a disappointing surprise. After all, during the campaign we heard about his presidency of the Harvard Law Review, his years as a constitutional law professor (actually, more of a lecturer than a professor) at the renowned University of Chicago Law School, his brilliance. Yet, the mistakes he made -- and continues to make -- are ignored by many in the mainstream media.

If George Bush had made these mistakes in front of grieving families, let alone stammered when discussing them (as Deborah Burlingame, one of the relatives, said he did), he would be excoriated for his ignorance and insensitivity. He would be charged as being unprepared (and he was not a lawyer or constitutional professor).

Yet Barack Obama gets yet another pass. Many more yet to come.
When addressing families of terror victims regarding his decision to suspend military tribunals of suspected terrorists, President Obama "clearly didn't do his homework" according to the Washington Times. His own legal counsel Greg Craig admitted the President made mistakes when discussing details about terrorism and made a key error when he tried to explain the law to the families.

The column points out that terror suspects want as much information as they can so they can inform terror networks about the methods and people used by our government to track down terror suspects. This is one reason they dismiss their lawyers: they alone can receive these disclosures without having to go through the "filter" of a lawyer.

This facilitates terror in the future. Therefore, prosecutors want to minimize the information released to suspects and to courts; while terror suspects want to maximize the disclosure. When confronted with this conundrum, the President mistakenly interpreted basic Constitutional law. The Washington Times:


... Obama's answer to this conundrum was "there is no reason we have to give [the terrorists] everything." Evidently the former editor of the Harvard Law Review seems to think that one of his powers as president is personally to pick and choose which constitutional rights apply to terror defendants and which do not. That's the very thing they were criticizing President Bush for.

White House Counsel Greg Craig, often seen whispering in the president's ear during question periods, admitted later to Ms. Burlingame that the chief executive was getting the facts of the law wrong during the discussion with the families. Craig asked her if CIPA covers a case in which terrorists defend themselves, noting that "this is something we hadn't contemplated." If nothing else, this admission of ignorance is more evidence that the decision to rush ahead with closing Guantanamo and shutting down the military tribunals was ill-conceived, poorly planned, and may ultimately be injurious to our national security.

This is far from the first time that Barack Obama erred in his understanding of the law. He has a pattern of making similar mistakes, as I pointed out in Barack Obama, Legal Scholar . This should come as a disappointing surprise. After all, during the campaign we heard about his presidency of the Harvard Law Review, his years as a constitutional law professor (actually, more of a lecturer than a professor) at the renowned University of Chicago Law School, his brilliance. Yet, the mistakes he made -- and continues to make -- are ignored by many in the mainstream media.

If George Bush had made these mistakes in front of grieving families, let alone stammered when discussing them (as Deborah Burlingame, one of the relatives, said he did), he would be excoriated for his ignorance and insensitivity. He would be charged as being unprepared (and he was not a lawyer or constitutional professor).

Yet Barack Obama gets yet another pass. Many more yet to come.