Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Don't mess with Reggie
It isn't all that hard to bring out the wingnuts, as David Shuster hilariously referred to them tonight on Countdown (might have been a whoopsie, but I LOVED it!) Said nuts have opened up their cans of crazy on one U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Reginald Walton, the judge who heard the Scooter Libby case, and then sentenced ole' Scooter to 30 months in prison, to begin, not later, not upon the completion of his appeal, but soon, and very soon. The reaction from the dwindling cadres of the neocon faithful has been absolutely cookoo, with the stalwarts left to debate Pat Buchanan on Hardball as to whether perjury and obstruction of justice are legitimate subjects for prosecution. Earth to neocons: they ARE.

So what to do, when Bushie isn't acting fast enough to further discredit himself and his presidency by pardoning a man for no other reason than that he is a friend of the vice president, and despite the fact that you claimed to be coming to Washington to "restore honor and dignity" to the place ... not to make perjury and obstruction of justice fashionable among Republicans...

What to do?

Write nasty, threatening letters to the judge.

Yep. That's what the winguts are doing. Says the judge:

"I received a number of angry, harassing mean-spirited phone calls and letters," District Judge Reggie B. Walton said. "Some of those were wishing bad things on me and my family." Walton made the remarks as he opened a hearing into whether to delay Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence.

He said he was holding the letters in case something happened but said they would have no effect on his decision.

It must be soul-killing to be a right winger ...

So who is this guy?

Well, he's not a card carrying liberal, anti-American Socialist, as some on the right might wish. He is an African-American Republican, and an appointee of a guy named Bush:


Judge Reggie B. Walton assumed his position as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia on October 29, 2001, after being nominated to the position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. In May 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Walton to serve as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is a 7-year appointment. Judge Walton was also appointed by President Bush in June of 2004 to serve as the Chairperson of the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, a two-year commission created by the United States Congress that is tasked with the mission of identifying methods to curb the incidents of prison rape. Former Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed Judge Walton to the federal judiciary's Criminal Law Committee, effective October 1, 2005. Judge Walton previously served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1989 and 1991 to 2001, having been appointed to that position by Presidents Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George H. W. Bush in 1991. While serving on the Superior Court, Judge Walton was the court's Presiding Judge of the Family Division, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Unit and Deputy Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division. Between 1989 and 1991, Judge Walton served as President George H. W. Bush's Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office of the President and as President Bush's Senior White House Advisor for Crime.
Hm... that might be a problem for the righties who might want to characterize Walton as a latter day Al Sharpton... This is Bush's judge, just as Pat Fitzgerald is Bush's prosecutor. If the president vacates their work, he can't hide behind the veil of saving Scooter from a partisan witch hunt. As Richard Ben Veniste said on "Hardball" yesterday when he debated the barely coherent Joe DiGenova, if Bush wants to pardon Scooter, he'll have to stand up, be a man, and admit that he's doing a neocon friend a big, fat favor.

Meanwhile, John Dickerson from Slate predicts Bushie will do just that, and that Scooter won't see the inside of an orange jumpsuit. The reasons:

First: Dick Cheney. The vice president may not be winning as many foreign-policy battles as he used to, but Libby's fate is a highly personal matter for Cheney. He will ask Bush for a pardon, and he is unlikely to back down. If Bush resists, Cheney could argue that his close aide Libby should not go to jail while Karl Rove, another key figure in the scandal, has been protected by Bush and the administration.

The second reason Libby will walk is President Bush's dismal approval rating. The number of people who would be angered by a pardon who haven't already abandoned the president could fit in an airport shuttle bus. Given the conservative defections from Bush over his support of immigration reform, a pardon of Libby—which would be popular with conservatives—might actually improve his approval ratings. Libby's conviction is seen as such an outrage among conservatives that one former Bush aide suggested "the consequences of not pardoning, if Scooter is led away in shackles, will be uglier than pardoning."
Could be. But pardoning Scooter would also keep the story on the front pages, and keep people talking that ole' "underlying conduct," namely the administration's cavalier outing of a covert agent (using the same stooge reporter who stenographed for Robert Hansen, no less) to punish her husband for telling the truth about their war...

And who would want that?

Odds of a pardon at this stage: I'd say 4:3 in favor, but probably not until late summer, during the slow news months... Oh, and Dickerson says that if a Republican wins the White House in 2008 (perish the thought) he should offer Scooter a job. Go figure.
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