the torture lawyers

My friend and former colleague David Luban has a very useful article in Slate explaining why the lawyers who advised the Bush administration to allow torture (“former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, vice presidential counsel David Addington, Justice Department lawyers Jay Bybee and John Yoo, and Pentagon counsel William Haynes”) violated legal ethics. Luban’s analogy between those lawyers and Lynne Stewart–Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman’s defense attorney, recently convicted of conspiring with him–is suggestive but not necessarily tight. The real payoff of Luban’s piece is his explanation of the role of legal advisor versus that of advocate. The Bush lawyers acted as advocates when they were employed to give advice, and that violates legal ethics.