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One “change” I had hoped to see on January 20, 2009 was the end of the politicization of the Justice Department. Judging from this report at Newsweek by Michael Isikoff that isn’t going to be the case, as the Obama administration is set to “overrule” and “overturn” the decision of Attorney General Eric Holder to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay in civilian courts rather than military tribunals. The reason being political pressure from New York City mayor Bloomberg and Republicans in Congress:

“The White House may yet be several weeks away from announcing whether it plans to overrule Attorney General Eric Holder and order that the 9/11 conspirators be tried before military commissions rather than in civilian courts. But it’s not hard to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

…The embrace of military tribunals follows months of controversy over Holder’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 conspirators in federal court in New York–a move that generated opposition from New York political figures such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Republicans in Congress. Administration officials have acknowledged it was looking increasingly likely that Congress would block any funding for civilian trials of the 9/11 conspirators.”

…”All the indications we’ve been given are to get ready for a lot of activity in Guanantamo,” said a military prosecutor, who asked not to be identified talking about upcoming cases. “It’s full steam ahead.”

…the big decision everyone is waiting for is whether President Obama, as is increasingly expected inside the Beltway, will overturn Holder’s decision and return Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 co-conspirators to the military commissions.

Remember the days of an independent Department of Justice? When who was prosecuted and how was done at the discretion of the Attorney General? When an Attorney General would resign rather than succumb to political pressure from the White House?

Those days are apparently gone. No matter who occupies the Oval Office.

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