Who is David Margolis?

February 20, 2010 at 5:01 am | Posted in Judiciary, law, politics straight up, torture | 2 Comments
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Many errors found in Department of Justice mural. Washington, D.C., Aug. 17. Aides of Attorney General Cummings are taking great delight these days in criticizing the realism of several of the murals which ... Boughe, New York artist painted for the new Department of Justice building. Miss Margaret Burgess, a sightseer, points to the Statue of Liberty which was painted facing shoreward instead of seaward other glaring errors showed a convict facing four members of the Federal Court of Parole, although actually he faces only one in real life, a fire starting in a large city, although Federal Investigators work only on arson cases on Indian Reservations, 8/17/37

Despite the headlines you’ll see, the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) did not in any way clear Yoo or Bybee. It recommended referral to state bar disciplinary authorities by whom Yoo and Bybee are now licensed.

The OPR report concluded that “two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics.

Who is this man who is protecting John Yoo and Jay Bybee by blocking the Justice Department from making referrals that could result in their disbarment and loss of their current employment?

I used the Google and here is what I found:

It appears that Margolis has been used on a number of occasions to clean up a mess for the Justice Department. In March 2007 Margolis defended the firing of one of the nine US Attorneys at about the same time that Monica Goodling hit the front page. Some apparently took it for granted that because he was not a Bush hire, he was “clearly a ‘Clean’ player.” I would have to agree with those less inclined to view him so favorably.

His participation in the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman seemed a bit stinky:

After ethics complaints were brought to the Justice Department, Leura Canary was nominally removed from the case. But in a circumvention of normal Justice Department rules approved by Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, she was allowed to pick one of her deputies to manage the case against Siegelman in her stead. Canary represented to Congress that she removed herself from the case “before any significant decisions” had been reached. Now internal communications have been disclosed within Canary’s own office calling into question these claims.

(Two earlier articles here and here.)

As to Margolis, it seems to me that he had an assigned role here — to provide a veneer of respectability to an expediency. We are left with the question: why is the Obama administration once again protecting members of the Bush crime family?

UPDATE: Isn’t it lovely that the Obama administration had someone with credibility already in the DOJ to whitewash the final results.

“OPR’s own analytical framework defines ‘professional misconduct’ such that a finding of misconduct depends on application of a known, unambiguous obligation or standard to the attorney’s conduct,” [Margolis] wrote. “I am unpersuaded that OPR has identified such a standard.”

The investigation was apparently political theater, perhaps to mollify those calling for investigations that will not happen during this administration of crimes committed by the Bush administration. They should have saved themselves the trouble.

UPDATE: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has forwarded materials on the writing of the torture memos to state bars where John Yoo and Jay Bybee are licensed, calling on the bar association to consider possible disciplinary action, Nadler’s office announced today.



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  1. […] Bybee und Yoo entgingen ihrer Strafe, als der regimetreue ranghohe Beamte des Justizministeriums, David Margolis, damals Stellvertreter des Associate Attorney General, des dritthöchsten Amtes im […]

  2. […] Bybee und Yoo entgingen ihrer Strafe, als der regimetreue ranghohe Beamte des Justizministeriums, David Margolis, damals Stellvertreter des Associate Attorney General, des dritthöchsten Amtes im […]

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