Thursday, December 20, 2007

Grabbing power wherever they can

Away from those who challenge the Bush adminstration's authority.

Jeralyn at Talk Left:
In another outrageous attempt at grabbing power that does not belong to it, the Bush Administration is now seeking to control which military lawyers get promotions:

The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

The administration has proposed a regulation requiring "coordination" with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate General corps - the military's 4,000-member uniformed legal force - can be promoted.

In a nutshell,

Under the current system, boards of military officers pick who will join the JAG corps and who will be promoted, while the general counsels' role is limited to reviewing whether the boards followed correct procedures. The proposed rule would impose a new requirement of "coordination" with the general counsels of the services and the Pentagon during the JAG appointment and promotion process.

It's our unitary executive at work again.
Update 12/22: Via Phila of Bouphonia, the plan to politicize JAG promotions is dropped:
An attempt within the Pentagon to politicize promotions for military judge advocates general appears to have been blocked after protests from military lawyers and threats from key lawmakers.

The plan, which called for “coordination” with the civilian general counsels of the services and the Defense Department for the promotion of any JAG officers, had been circulated in the Pentagon since November but ran into a serious roadblock Tuesday when key members of Congress learned about the details.

For promotions to O-6 and below, the proposed policy required coordination with the chief civilian lawyer of each service, the service general counsel. For promotions to flag and general officer rank, the proposal called for coordination with the Defense Department general counsel.

DoD General Counsel William Haynes had planned to hold a meeting this Friday with the service judge advocates general to discuss the proposal, but sources in the Pentagon and in Congress said if a meeting is held at all, it will be to try to heal the wounds the proposal caused.

“This is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard come out of the DoD general counsel,” said Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., an Army Reserve JAG officer and former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on military personnel.

That's a Republican saying it was one of the dumbest ideas.... That's saying a lot!

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