Friday, May 18, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 15: Comments - My Open Apology to Rahul

A couple of blog entries ago, I gave an extract from 91er Rahul Siddharthan's blog, which got me a lot of email.

Rahul decided to write in a comment on this blog.

My blogs are not really meant for comments as they usually do not help, as people stand by entrenched views.

The grave error of mine was replying to Rahul's comment, and so we had some protracted to and fro.

My most sincere apologies to Rahaul, who being some 30 years my junior, did not realise that I was playing around with him - 60s Stephanian PJ style!

Rahul took it on himself to compare our humble college with an entire University which has huge funding, and several departments with great Faculties.

We Stephanians must say no contest, as we are nowhere near that hallowed institution of Harvard, or Yale, or Oxford, or Cambridge or any other major University in the world. We are just a humble college in Delhi with pretensions, as Rahul correctly alleged, of greater institutions!

The only thing I must add, in defence, is probably that we may not have produced an Alberto Gonzales!

I was greatly impressed by the Harvard classmates of Mr. Gonzales who lambasted him in a full page ad with an Open Letter in the Washington Post! This is the ad that ran in the Washington Post.


May 15, 2007

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

Twenty-five years ago we, like you, graduated from Harvard Law School. While we arrived via many different paths and held many different views, we were united in our deep respect for the Constitution and the rights it guaranteed. As members of the post-Watergate generation who chose careers in law, we understood the strong connection between our liberties as Americans and the adherence of public officials to the law of the land. We knew that the choice to abide by the law was even more critical when public officials were tempted to take legal shortcuts. Nowhere were we taught that the ends justified the means, or that freedoms for which Americans had fought and died should be set aside when inconvenient or challenging. To the contrary: our most precious freedoms, we learned, need defending most in times of crisis.

So it has been with dismay that we have watched your cavalier handling of our freedoms time and again. When it has been important that legal boundaries hold unbridled government power in check, you have instead used pretextual rationales and strained readings to justify an ever-expanding executive authority. Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women; witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections; witness your support of presidential statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants (and the Administration's stepped-up wiretapping campaign, taking advantage of those statements, which continues on your watch to this day); and witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with others more "loyal" to the President's politics, as merely "an overblown personnel matter." In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize "disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law."

As lawyers, and as a matter of principle, we can no longer be silent about this Administration's consistent disdain for the liberties we hold dear. Your failure to stand for the rule of law, particularly when faced with a President who makes the aggrandized claim of being a unitary executive, takes this country down a dangerous path.

Your country and your President are in dire need of an attorney who will do the tough job of providing independent counsel, especially when the advice runs counter to political expediency. Now more than ever, our country needs a President, and an Attorney General, who remember the apt observation attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." We call on you and the President to relent from this reckless path, and begin to restore respect for the rule of law we all learned to love many years ago.

Yours truly,

David M. Abromowitz, Boston, MA, Jonathan B. Baker, Bethesda, MD, Valerie D. Bell, St. Louis, MO, Raymond Angelo Belliotti, Fredonia, NY, James S. Berkman, Boston, MA, McKey W. Berkman, Boston, MA, Scott Brown, Hanover, NH, Robert D. Chesler, Roseland, NJ, Armond Cohen, Cambridge, MA, David Currier, Freeport, ME, Stuart W. Davidson, Philadelphia, PA, Daniel M. Elkort, San Francisco, CA, Matthew E. Epstein, Newton, MA, Mary T. Esposito, Cape Elizabeth, ME,

Gary M. Fallon, Seattle, WA, William L. Fleming, Seattle, WA, Jonathan A. Funk, San Francisco, CA, Keith Halpern, Cambridge, MA, Matthew M. Horgan, London, UK, Elaine Johnson James, West Palm Beach, FL, Keith A. James, West Palm Beach, FL, Emily Joselson, Middlebury, VT, Cheryl D. Justice, Los Angeles, CA, Meredith J. Kane, New York, NY, Susan Kaplan, New York, NY, David Karnovsky, New York, NY, Gregory F. Keller, Great Neck, NY, David Kelston, Cambridge, MA,

Otho E. Kerr III, New York, NY, Marisa Lago, New York, NY, Kathleen Larocque, Santa Rosa, CA, Karen Levinson, New York, NY, Christine A. Littleton, Los Angeles, CA, Nancy R. London, Pacifi c Palisades, CA, Beverly R. Lopez, Dallas, TX, Julian W. Mack, San Francisco, CA, Andy Miller, San Francisco, CA, Barbara Moses, New York, NY, Beth H. Parker, San Francisco, CA, Wendy E. Parmet, Newton, MA, Brendan J. Radigan, Providence, RI, Catherine Redlich, Ridgewood, NJ,

Michael B. Reuben, New York, NY, Clifford S. Robbins, San Mateo, CA, James Rosenthal, New York, NY, Rusty Russell, Cambridge, MA, Eric Schneiderman, New York, NY, Eric Seiler, New York, NY, Jeffrey P. Smith, Evanston, IL, Lorna Soroko, Tucson, AZ, Alan M. Spiro, Boston, MA, David S. Steuer, Palo Alto, Califonia, Kelvin R. Westbrook, St. Louis, MO, Mary Whisner, Seattle, WA, Jeannette Anderson Winn, Greenville, SC, Marshall Winn, Greenville, SC


It is from ALL of his classmates from the Harvard Law class of 1982. It chastises Nr. Gonzales reckless disregard for the constitution for the wire tapping, suspension of habeas corpus, and the recent politically motivated firings.

I wonder if any of us had the same feeling about some Stephanians who helped Indira Gandhi introduce Emergency Rule in the 70s!


Anonymous said...

My Dear Sir,

Have we forgotten the Stephanian Zia-ul Haque? What about him? He may not have shown the lapses that Gonzalez has, but wasn't he a...dictator?

No malice towards your college, but it HAS produced people that have been monstrous as well, just like any other institution...

Jacob Matthan said...

Thank you for bringing me down to earth.

Exceptions ALWAYS prove the rule!