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Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

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I argue in this brief essay that the increasingly fervent insistence on criminal punishment of the Bush administration lawyers for their legal advice on interrogation policy is both wrong-headed and dangerous. It is wrongheaded because the insistence on criminal prosecution of attorneys based solely upon their good faith interpretation of the law is highly unlikely to succeed as a matter of both U.S. and international law. It is dangerous because, at least with respect to US. law, prosecuting good faith legal advice is (and should be) a violation of those attorneys' constitutional rights under the US. Constitution's First Amendment and broader norms of free expression. Insisting on prosecuting lawyers for their good-faith legal advice, or even threatening prosecution, will chill the ability of future government lawyers to give legal advice on complex and important questions implicating U.S. national security.



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