Luban in the torture hearings

Here is my friend and former colleague David Luban being questioned about torture by Senator Lindsey Graham. The caption about “browbeating” is not mine; this was the only video clip I could find online, and I would leave viewers to make their own judgment.

Before this exchange, Luban had argued that the Bush Administration’s lawyers (Bybee and Yoo) violated legal ethics by providing extremely incomplete surveys of relevant law to their client, the President of the United States. Here Senator Graham asserts that Luban forgot to mention cases on the other side of the issue; thus if Yoo was unethical, so was Luban. That’s like receiving a bad grade because you forgot to mention several crucial facts in an exam. Your professor shows you what you left out, and you reply that he is just as bad because he forgot to mention some points in favor of your conclusion. But he’s not writing an exam; he’s grading yours. I guarantee that David Luban could provide a complete and balanced summary of torture law if that were his job. (Senator Graham wouldn’t like the conclusions, however.)

Here is David patiently explaining why the “torture memos” violated legal ethics. And this is David being questioned on the same topic by Rep. Jerrold Nadler in a House committee hearing.