Legal Commentary

Archive

JOHN DEAN

Before becoming Counsel to the President of the United States in July 1970 at age thirty-one, John Dean was Chief Minority Counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the Associate Director of a law reform commission, and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He served as Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for a thousand days.

He did his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science. He received a graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the presidency, before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD in 1965.

John has long written on the subjects of law, government, and politics, and he recounted his days in the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). He lives in Beverly Hills, California with his wife Maureen, and now devotes full time to writing and lecturing, having retired from his career as a private investment banker.

In 2001 he published The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court; in early 2004, Warren G. Harding, followed by Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. In 2006, John published Conservatives Without Conscience.

His newest book is Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches.

 Columns by John Dean  Most Recent | Page 4 | Page 3 | Page 2 | Page 1  

WikiLeaks: For Better or Worse -- or Both?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the WikiLeaks controversy, which culminated this week with the arrest of WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange. Dean argues that the best attitude toward WikiLeaks is a moderate one, contending that "those who see Assange and other WikiLeaks members as evil and horrifying are just as wrong as those who find them heroic and praiseworthy." In making his case, Dean draws upon the work of philosopher Sissela Bok, who argues that societies need some level of secrecy, and that there is a critical difference between leakers and whistleblowers, who act for altruistic reasons to ferret out societal ills. Dean urges WikiLeaks to adopt a stringent set of criteria for when disclosure is appropriate (one that goes much further than simply prohibiting disclosures that will lead to deaths), and to consider that the site's disclosures may become a tool for wrongdoing governments and individuals to exploit.
Friday, December 29, 2010

Sarah Palin and The Dumbing Down of the American Presidency
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the possible prospect of a Sarah Palin presidency. Dean's view is that it is unlikely that Palin is currently prepping, with her sixteen-state book tour, for a 2012 presidential run, but he believes we may well see her run in 2016. Dean also comments on a number of related topics : (1) a recent New York Times Magazine profile on Palin; (2) Nixon biographers' views of Palin as Nixonian; and (3) the chance that-- if Palin did run in 2012 -- President Obama would swap Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton in choosing a running mate. Dean sees a possibility that Palin might transform herself into a viable candidate for 2016, but not for 2012 -- noting that right now, polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans see her as unqualified to be president. Finally, Dean raises a strong concern that the presidency is being "dumbed down" over time, and explains the basis for that concern.
Monday, November 29, 2010

The Tea Party's Apparent Willingness to Shut Down the Federal Government and What the Consequences May Be
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on Tea Party candidates' plan to shut down the federal government in order to enforce spending limits. Dean describes how government-shutdown situations have historically played out, and contends that although such shutdowns are destructive overall, they have only advantages from the Tea Party's perspective. He notes that all those in Congress are oath-bound not to resort to shutdowns, and yet some do so anyway. Dean also predicts that it is possible that with a shutdown or shutdown threats, the Tea Party could successfully bully President Obama into complying with its demands.
Friday, November 12, 2010

Miller v. Murkowski v. McAdams: The Tea Party's Marquee Election In Alaska Is An Upset In the Making
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on next week's three-way Alaska Senatorial election. Dean cautions observers that there is a sharp disagreement between the views of the national media and bloggers, on one hand, and the views of in-the-know Alaskans, on the other, as to who will win this race. The candidates, as Dean explains, are Tea-Party-candidate-turned-Republican-nominee Joe Miller; incumbent Republican Senator and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski; and Democratic Party nominee Scott McAdams. Though the election is a statistical dead heat in the polling, commentators and bloggers tend to favor Miller to win. Dean says the real candidate to watch is actually McAdams -- and explains why.
Friday, October 29, 2010

Why The Tea Party Elections On November 2, 2010 Will Ultimately Make No Difference
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the influence of the new "Tea Party," the candidates of which are expected to prevail in some of the mid-term Congressional elections that will occur on November 2d. Dean contends that, while the Tea Party may indeed win some Congressional seats, it is unlikely -- based on the past fates of other populist movement in America -- that the Tea Party will make much of a difference in the long run. Dean describes the Tea Party movement, its accomplishments and failures, and its degree of popular support, and describes the way in which American populist movements tend to fizzle out.
Friday, October 15, 2010

A Reader's Guide To The Recent Correction Of A Terrible Nixon Injustice
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on a Nixon-era travesty of justice that may now be remedied by the Senate. As Dean explains, Air Force General John Lavelle was accused by then-President Nixon of conducting unauthorized bombings during the Vietnam War. The accusation resulted in Lavelle's being discharged and vilified. In fact, Dean explains, the charges against Lavelle (who has since passed away) were entirely false -- as has been proven by the Nixon tapes, and by the diligent work of attorney Patrick Casey and his father, retired Air Force Lieutenant General Aloysius G. Casey. President Obama has requested that the Senate restore General Lavelle's full rank and honor. Dean offers readers a summary and analysis of the recent facts and news coverage relating to Lavelle. Moreover, Dean urges Senate Republicans to put partisanship aside and vote to grant President Obama's request -- especially since, although General Lavelle has passed away, his family members, who have consistently defended him, still await his vindication.
Friday, October 1, 2010

Releasing Nixon's Grand Jury Testimony: It Could Change History
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the Public Citizen Litigation Group lawsuit -- brought on behalf of a number of prominent American historians and archivists -- seeking the release of records of former president Richard Nixon's 1975 grand-jury testimony. Dean explains the context of the testimony and its historic importance; describes the law of grand-jury secrecy; and provides and applies the nine factors of the test that the court will apply in determining whether the testimony should be released in light of its historical importance and the other surrounding facts.
Friday, September 17, 2010

What Will Become of Dick Cheney's Vice Presidential Records?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the ongoing controversy over the production of the records of former Vice President Dick Cheney. As Dean explains, Cheney never sent his records to the George W. Bush presidential-records archive, and has fought in court against the records' disclosure. Dean explains why the litigation -- although it established that the Cheney records should, in theory, have been turned over -- nevertheless failed to result in their actually being turned over. Dean also notes that while Congress is currently considering amending the presidential-records law, it is not considering ways to remedy the very shortcomings that have allowed the Cheney records situation to persist.
Friday, September 3, 2010

The Blagojevich Verdict: A Case Too Complex and Confusing
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the result in the federal trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother, Robert: Jurors hung on all but one minor charge, which will carry only a short sentence. Based on his analysis of jurors' post-trial comments and his discussions with a number of former federal prosecutors, Dean contends that the prosecution botched the case by presenting it in a way that jurors found confusing and overly complex. Another strategic misstep, Dean notes, may have been indicting the brother, and not Blagojevich's wife. The prosecution was led by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald -- also known for prosecuting Scooter Libby for the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA agent. Next time, Dean and his sources suggest, Fitzgerald may want to sharply narrow his case -- proceeding as if with a rifle, not a cannon.
Friday, August 20, 2010

How Our Decider-in-Chief Decides: Decisionmaking and the Obama Presidency
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws on work by journalist Jonathan Alter to both characterize President Obama's approach to decision-making, and contrast that approach with those taken by other presidents such as George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy, and by former Presidential candidate John McCain. Dean contends that decision-making style is vital, as nothing is more important in a presidency than decision-making. He characterizes President George W. Bush's decision-making as messianic and intuitive, while characterizing President Obama's decision-making as cool and focused. Dean also argues that the criticism that Obama dithers in his decision-making is completely off the mark -- but wonders if the President may be a bit too Spock-like in his approach.
Friday, August 6, 2010

Should Shirley Sherrod Sue Andrew Breitbart and Fox News?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes on a question that is currently getting significant attention in the media and on the Internet: Should Sherry Sherrod -- who was falsely portrayed as a racist based on selected clips of a speech she gave to the NAACP, and fired from her Obama Administration post as a result -- sue blogger Andrew Breitbart, who disseminated the clips, and/or Fox News, which ran them? Dean argues that the most promising suit for Sherrod to bring would be one for false-light invasion of privacy -- a tort that is related to, but different from, defamation. But Dean warns that Sherrod's suit would be an uphill battle in light of the Supreme Court's high proof standards, and counsels that, in the end, Sherrod would be better served by writing a book and lecturing about the controversy, than by suing Breitbart and/or Fox News.
Friday, July 23, 2010

How Harry Reid Might Respond to Sharron Angle's Planned "SLAPP" Suit
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the suit that may soon be filed by Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle against her opponent Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader of the US Senate. Angle is taking strong issue with Reid's republication of materials from her primary-campaign website. However, Dean contends that if Angle actually sues Reid over the republication, she may trigger Nevada's Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation ("Anti-SLAPP") law, which could be costly for Angle. Dean also describes how Angle's own admissions about the materials may separately undermine her suit.
Friday, July 9, 2010

Does the Judge Who Blocked Obama's Drilling Moratorium Suffer from an Unethical Conflict of Interest?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses important details regarding the possible conflict of interest on the part of U.S. District Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman, who recently granted a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of the Interior's planned six-month drilling moratorium for the Gulf of Mexico. Dean specifically describes the canon of judicial ethics that is at issue here, and the potential extent of Judge Feldman's conflict of interest, if he currently retains certain investments that he is known to have previously held. Dean also analyzes Feldman's decision regarding the preliminary injunction -- and faults the judge for failing to focus on the evidence in the way that such a motion merits.
Friday, June 25, 2010

President Obama's Scandal That Wasn't, and Still Isn't: The Alleged Promises to Sestak and Romanoff
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on allegations that the Obama White House made illegal promises to Congressman Joe Sestak and to Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, on the condition that each would not run for a Senate seat. Dean contends that this so-called scandal is really a non-scandal, or faux scandal. After analyzing the federal criminal statute that has been claimed to be implicated here, he concludes that both the Sestak and Romanoff discussions were clearly outside the scope of that law. Dean also notes that, in the past, there have been clear instances of Republicans promising jobs for political support -- and thus doing essentially the same thing that some Republicans now claim is a crime when done by the Obama Administration.
Friday, June 11, 2010

Messing With Miranda To Fight Terrorism: Obama's Playing Politics With Limited Options, Part 2
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean continues his two-part series of columns on the controversy over the Obama Administration's discussion of whether to modify the public-safety exception to Miranda rights when the person being interrogated is a terrorism suspect. Here, in Part Two, Dean notes that a statute embodying a modification of the public-safety exception may well be in the works. He also compares and contrasts George W. Bush's, Dick Cheney's, and President Obama's respective stances on what the law regarding terrorism should look like, and the extent to which it should be civilian or military.
Friday, May 28, 2010

Messing With Miranda Rights To Fight Terrorism: Did Attorney General Holder Need A Warning, Too?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on Attorney General Eric Holder's indication, during recent television appearances, that the Obama Justice Department may be inclined to change its policy regarding reading terrorism suspects their Miranda rights. Dean argues that two aspects of Holder's appearances were disturbing: First, Dean observes that Holder's comments seemed to evolve from tentative ideas into possible policy through journalistic questioning. Second, Dean contends that if a change to Miranda policy is truly forthcoming, then it will place the Obama Administration to the right of even the Bush/Cheney Administration on the issue, will seriously harm the U.S.'s recently-much-improved human-rights image; and will contravene what we know about Miranda in practice.
Friday, May 14, 2010

What Kind Of Sentence Is Roman Polanski Facing?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explores a less-remarked aspect of the controversy over the fate of director Roman Polanski. Thus far, there has been much debate about whether Polanski should be extradited to the United States to be sentenced by a California judge for the crime of having sex with a minor -- a crime to which he pled guilty in 1977, but for which he was never sentenced, because he fled. But Dean asks a different question: If Polanski were to be extradited to California now, what sentence would he now face? Polanski's lawyers are suggesting that, had Polanski been sentenced in the '70s, he would have served less than a year. But Dean raises -- and, with the help of a sentencing expert, answers -- questions such as whether Polanski could get a higher sentence today, in light of the stricter sexual more of our times, and in light of his decision to flee.
Friday, October 16, 2009

The Harding Affair, Part Two: Evidence of Racism Rising
In Part Two of a two-part series on President Warren G. Harding's extramarital affair with Carrie Phillips and the letters it produced, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean presents the results of his question-and-answer session with attorney James D. Robenalt, the author of a book about the affair. Among the topics Dean discusses with Robenalt is the revival of old, racist insinuations that Harding's presidency was a failure because Harding was secretly African-American. Robenalt notes that such suggestions dramatically backfired when Harding was running for president, because the public did not take well to ugly slurs upon a candidate.
Friday, October 2, 2009

The Harding Affair: Evidence of Racism Rising
In Part One of a two-part series on President Warren G. Harding's extramarital affair with Carrie Phillips and the letters it produced, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws from the recent book by attorney James D. Robenault about the affair. Dean begins by discussing the Harding family's successful legal battle to quash a would-be biographer's bid at using the letters in service of the racist argument that Harding's presidency was a failure because Harding was secretly African-American -- an argument that, Dean notes, is still being made today. Dean praises Robenault's book for shedding light on interesting aspects of the Harding/Phillips relationship, including Phillips's status as a German sympathizer -- and perhaps even a German spy -- and her unsuccessful attempt to make Harding a sympathizer as well.
Friday, September 18, 2009

Political Manipulation of the Threat Level: Is Ridge's Charge a Federal Crime?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a revelation made in former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Tom Ridge's recent memoir, The Test of Our Times. Ridge claims, in the book, that shortly before the 2004 presidential election, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, with the support of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, urged that threat levels be raised, despite the lack of intelligence supporting that decision. As Dean describes, Ridge seems to be backing away from his claim now. Yet Dean notes that, based on Ridge's account, the claim should be able to be corroborated by four other people to whom Ridge wrote that he spoke at the time. Moreover, Dean contends -- citing case law and the relevant statute -- that Ridge's book's claim, if proven, could form the basis for a criminal conspiracy charge against Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.
Friday, September 4, 2009

Health Care Reform: A Time for Real Action
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses why Republican opposition to President Obama's health care reform efforts has been effective, even despite being, he contends, wrong on the merits. Dean also contends that supporters of the President will be much more effective in continuing to use the Internet to make their case for reform, than by organizing a March on Washington centered on the health care issue, as has been proposed. Dean reviews a number of past marches on Washington and contends that they were either ineffective or very limited in their effectiveness. He adds, too, that the marches' past benefit, of bringing like-minded people together, is less crucial now, when the Internet can easily achieve that goal. Dean also contrasts President Clinton's tactic in seeking health care reform, by bypassing Congress, to President Obama's tactic of involving Congress in reform efforts, and the possible pitfalls of each approach. Dean argues that America urgently needs health care reform but also notes that, in the current situation, it is far from certain that reform efforts will succeed.
Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking for Great "Big History" Books
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that there is a dearth of "big history" books being published, and that the situation should be remedied, because such books are of great importance. Dean defines a work of "big history" as one that examines human history using a wide framework, and cites as examples Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies" and Fred Spier's "The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang Until Today," as well as big-picture works by Isaac Asimov and Amy Chua. Dean also expresses interest -- based in part on the wish of his late, beloved friend Ron Silver -- in joining with historians to co-found a "big history" website if there is reader support for it.
Friday, August 7, 2009

Barack Obama Is A "Fox," Not a "Hedgehog," and Thus More Likely To Get It Right
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean applies a framework devised by Philip Tetlock, who studies political judgment, to President Obama. Dean concludes that in Tetlock's terms, Obama is a "fox," interested in diverse thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and not a "hedgehog," seeking a universal unifying principle under which to proceed. Dean argues that former President George W. Bush was clearly a "hedgehog" according to this framework, and offers thoughts regarding into which categories other past presidents might fall. Dean argues that Tetlock's framework, while of course not a complete analysis of personality, nonetheless has much to offer to those who are interested in the inner workings of the minds of the powerful and influential.
Friday, July 24, 2009

Defaming The Dead: Congressman Peter King's Michael Jackson Media Rant
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes strong issue with New York Republican Congressman Peter King's decision, in the wake of Michael Jackson's death, to call Jackson a "child molester" and a "pedophile" despite his acquittal in a criminal trial. Dean points out that, were Jackson still alive, King's comments might well run afoul of defamation laws. He also recalls that in the 1980s, the New York Assembly seriously considered a law that would create a remedy for defaming the dead, and suggests that influential Jackson supporters such as Reverend Al Sharpton might do well to re-introduce such legislation in New York in the wake of Jackson's death and the ensuing attacks upon Jackson's character.
Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Didn't Governor Sanford Suppress His E-Love-Letters?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the possible copyright-infringement action that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford might have against the newspaper that opted to publish his emailed love letters to his paramour. Dean includes in his column the results of his question-and-answer session with Los Angeles-based attorney John C. Kirkland, who is both well-versed in copyright law and the author of the best-seller "Love Letters of Great Men." Dean also notes the irony that while the newspaper at issue, South Carolina's The State, doubtless would vigorously enforce its own copyrights, it likely has infringed Sanford's.
Friday, June 26, 2009

Expert Advice On Dealing With A Prior Administration's Use of Torture
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws from the work of the late Samuel P. Huntington -- a highly-regarded Harvard professor and former president of the American Political Science Association -- in commenting on how the Obama Administration should respond to the Bush Administration's past use of torture. As Dean explains, Huntington's work focused upon transitions from pure authoritarian rule to democracy. However, Dean also finds Huntington's work enlightening with respect to the recent transition, within our democracy, from an administration with a strongly authoritarian worldview, to one with a very different perspective. Dean offers lessons from Huntington's work that are directly tailored to the Obama Administration's current quandary.
Friday, June 12, 2009

The Olson/Boies Challenge to California’s Proposition 8: A High-Risk Effort
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean follows up on this week's California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8 -- an amendment to the California Constitution banning same-sex marriage -- with a discussion of the suit initiated by high-profile lawyers David Boies and Theodore Olson challenging Proposition 8 as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Dean explains why many GLBT groups, and the ACLU, are skeptical of Boies and Olson's challenge, fearing that it will only prompt a negative Supreme Court ruling that will bar the door for similar challenges for years to come, and pointing to same-sex marriage developments at the state level as a sign that progress can continue to be made in state courts and legislatures.
Friday, May 29, 2009

The Politics of Excusing Torture In The Name of National Security
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains the difficult path President Obama must now walk as he seeks both to forge good relationships with the national security establishment, and to maintain good relationships with supporters who often disagree strongly with that establishment. To make things even more complicated, Dean argues that part of the George W. Bush Administration's legacy was to leave Obama facing an alienated national security establishment, which Dean contends was seriously misled, manipulated, and humiliated during the eight years of that presidency. Dean considers how each of these factors plays into the controversy over Obama's decision not to release photos of detainees being tortured by American soldiers.
Friday, May 15, 2009

Q & A Session on Bad Advice: Bush's Lawyers In The War On Terror
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean offers the results of his Q&A session with University of Colorado (Boulder) law professor Harold Bruff. Bruff is the author of a new book on how President Bush's lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) came to provide him with dubious -- and now much-criticized -- advice supporting torture and other "war on terror" tactics, despite OLC's long tradition of providing balanced and independent legal advice. Bruff describes the inner dynamics that led Bush Administration OLC lawyers to act differently than their predecessors, reading the law in such a way as to magnify the law and precedent in favor of presidential power, and to virtually ignore the law and precedent to the contrary.
Friday, May 1, 2009

The New Nattering Nabobs of Negativism Are Gunning For Obama's Judicial Nominees: A Republican Strategy That We Must All Hope Fails
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean describes the present, and predicts the future, Republican strategy toward President Obama's nominees to the federal judiciary. Dean contends that Republicans are wrong to complain that too many George W. Bush nominees to judgeships were blocked, in light of certain statistics: Over 316 Bush Justices and judges were confirmed; those jurists now represent over 37 percent of the federal judiciary; and the Senate approved 95 percent of Bush’s nominees. Based on recent Republican statements and actions, Dean predicts that while President Obama deserves at least the same courtesy that former President Bush received, he will not receive it -- despite his efforts toward bipartisanship in the nomination process.
Friday, April 17, 2009

The Strong Message Attorney General Eric Holder Sent to All Federal Prosecutors When He Dismissed the Indictment Against Senator Ted Stevens, and the Apparent Basis for the Dismissal
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the basis for Attorney General Eric Holder's recent decision to dismiss the indictment, based on allegations of corruption, that the Department of Justice had brought against Senator Ted Stevens, and which had resulted in a conviction. Dean praises Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for issuing a series of rulings that brought apparent DOJ misconduct to light and that served as a basis for Holder's decision. He also faults Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey for not addressing Sullivan's rulings by taking strong action, as his successor, Holder, later did.
Friday, April 3, 2009

Howard Fineman's "Thirteen American Arguments": A Key Briefing on the Core Political Clashes That Matter Now, and Historically Have Mattered, to Americans
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on journalist Howard Fineman's recent book, The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Inspire and Define Our Country -- which Dean counts as a true tour de force. Dean praises Fineman, in particular, for providing knowledgeable and agenda-free coverage of the issues that have sharply divided Americans, and writing an account of each subject that will interest not only beginners, but experts well-versed in the topic, too. Dean focuses, in particular, on one topic Fineman raises: the issue of immigration -- legal and, especially, illegal.
Friday, March 20, 2009

Beyond the Pale: The Newly-Released, Indefensible Office of Legal Counsel Terror Memos
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the Obama Department of Justice's release of seven memos written by the Bush Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- as well as of two more Bush OLC memos, from late 2008 and early 2009, which disavowed the seven earlier memos. Dean contends that the reasoning behind the seven post-9/11 memos was misleading, and that the arguments they presented were deceptive. Dean sharply criticizes the memos' lead attorney, John Yoo, arguing that his work seriously tarnished the previously high reputation of OLC. Dean takes Yoo's work to task as being intellectually dishonest -- noting that it has drawn harsh criticism not only from liberals and moderates, but also from Yoo's fellow conservatives, including former OLC head Jack Goldsmith. Dean notes that a report about the memos by the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility is thought to be imminent.
Friday, March 6, 2009

The History Behind the Film and Play "Frost/Nixon": How David Frost Really Convinced Richard Nixon to Talk
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains the actual historical context behind the film and play "Frost/Nixon," which tell the story of British journalist David Frost's bombshell interview with disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate. Dean also presents a revealing Q &A with Eli Chesen, author of the 1974 book President Nixon's Psychiatric Profile. As Dean explains, Chesen possesses special insight into Frost's interviews because Chesen had a number of off-the-record conversations with one of the people who prepared Frost, James Reston Jr., prior to the interviews. Thus, Chesen may well have played a key role in ensuring that the interviews served their intended purpose of effectively confronting Nixon with his crimes.
Friday, Feb. 20, 2009

The History Behind the Film and Play "Frost/Nixon": How David Frost Really Convinced Richard Nixon to Talk
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains the actual historical context behind the film and play "Frost/Nixon," which tell the story of British journalist David Frost's bombshell interview with disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate. Dean also presents a revealing Q &A with Eli Chesen, author of the 1974 book President Nixon's Psychiatric Profile. As Dean explains, Chesen possesses special insight into Frost's interviews because Chesen had a number of off-the-record conversations with one of the people who prepared Frost, James Reston Jr., prior to the interviews. Thus, Chesen may well have played a key role in ensuring that the interviews served their intended purpose of effectively confronting Nixon with his crimes.
Friday, Feb. 20, 2009

Legal Jeopardy For American Torturers Here and Abroad? A Q & A Session With An Expert on the Issue, Philippe Sands
In light of persuasive evidence of former Bush Administration officials' complicity in detainees' torture, John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president, considers whether that complicity will be punished -- either by American prosecutions initiated by the Obama Administration, or through prosecutions abroad, particularly if suspects travel outside the country. In explaining how the situation may unfold, Dean draws on his Q & A with Philippe Sands, the author of the book "Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values." Sands, a British professor specializing in international law, explains the legal basis upon which other countries may take action against former U.S. officials based upon evidence of their role in torturing detainees.
Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

The Damaged Institution of the Presidency, How the Obama Administration Intends to Restore It, And What We Can Expect from New OLC Head Dawn Johnsen
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on how the Obama Administration is likely to address the issues of presidential power and responsibility that led the Bush Administration into so much controversy. Dean contends that the Bush Administration seriously damaged the institution of the presidency through a pattern of conduct in which the Administration ignored the Geneva Conventions and statutes such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, deemed torture legal, and coupled numerous new statutes with presidential signing statements claiming the president had the power to disregard them. Dean explains why there is every indication that the new nominee for the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen, will take a very different and appropriately balanced approach.
Friday, Jan. 9, 2009

Why Claims that Black Californians Deserve Blame for the Passage of California’s Anti-Gay-Marriage Proposition 8 Are Unfair and Untrue
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes strong issue with claims that black Californians are to blame for the fact that Proposition 8 -- which purports to amend the California Constitution to withhold marriage rights from gay couples -- was passed by voters on Election Day 2008. Dean argues that the real blame lies with those who led the anti-Proposition 8 campaign; he contends that their strategies and advertisements failed to drive home to black California voters the strength of the parallel between anti-miscegenation laws and Proposition 8, and to effectively present the argument that Proposition 8 is not just a definition of marriage, but also a blatant form of discrimination.
Friday, Dec. 12, 2008

Why Claims that Black Californians Deserve Blame for the Passage of California’s Anti-Gay-Marriage Proposition 8 Are Unfair and Untrue
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes strong issue with claims that black Californians are to blame for the fact that Proposition 8 -- which purports to amend the California Constitution to withhold marriage rights from gay couples -- was passed by voters on Election Day 2008. Dean argues that the real blame lies with those who led the anti-Proposition 8 campaign; he contends that their strategies and advertisements failed to drive home to black California voters the strength of the parallel between anti-miscegenation laws and Proposition 8, and to effectively present the argument that Proposition 8 is not just a definition of marriage, but also a blatant form of discrimination.
Friday, Dec. 12, 2008

Predicting the Nature of Obama's Presidency
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean makes predictions regarding Barack Obama's impending presidency, based on work by scholar and author James David Barber. Barber divided presidents into four categories based on whether they perform actively or passively in their political roles, and whether their feelings toward those roles were positive or negative. Dean deems Obama an active/positive president, and George W. Bush an active/negative president -- and explains how Bush's characterization accurately predicted important aspects of his presidency, and how Obama's characterization may do the same. Dean also notes which other presidents fell into the same categories as Obama and Bush, and how those presidents fared.
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008

The Evidence Establishes, without Question, that Republican Rule Is Dangerous: Why It Is High Time to Fix This Situation, For the Good of the Nation
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws on his own prior work and that of social scientist Robert Altemeyer to argue that Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin possess strongly authoritarian personality traits that will cause them, if elected, to disserve the nation's best interests. Dean also contends that, because President Bush and Senator McCain share many of the same authoritarian traits, a McCain Administration would not importantly depart from the outlook and approach of the Bush Administration.
Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

Reflections on Historian Mary Hershberger's Piece on McCain's War Record, and a Q&A with the Author
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses historian Mary Hershberger's recent piece on Truthdig.com -- in which Hershberger questioned some of the claims made by John McCain about his war record. Dean also includes his Q&A with Hershberger about her piece and the research that underlies it. Dean argues that the mainstream media has been wrong to refrain from closely examining McCain's claims about his war record for fear of being accused of "Swift Boating" McCain, and praises Hershberger for looking into the factual basis for a series of past events that has served as the centerpiece of McCain's campaign.
Friday, Oct. 17, 2008

What History Has Taught Us to Expect About the Palin/Biden Debate
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean delves into history to consider the role and significance of presidential and vice presidential debates, in order to assess the likely impact of the Biden/Palin debate. Dean explains why, despite the famous example of the Nixon/Kennedy debate (in which Kennedy profited greatly from being telegenic), the lion's share of presidential election contests are relatively unaffected by the prior presidential and vice-presidential debates. The debates, in other words, are not game-changing, Dean explains -- though they do leave undecided voters, who are usually low-information voters, significantly better informed. Dean predicts that Sarah Palin's performance in the vice-presidential debate will follow the general trend, so that she is castigated by foes and lauded by supporters, regardless of the quality of her responses.
Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

Vice President Dick Cheney's Incredible and Deadly Lie: By Deceiving a Congressional Leader, Cheney Sent Us to War on False Pretenses And Violated the Separation of Powers - as Well as the Criminal Law
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the ramifications of a recent bombshell news story included in Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman's new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. Gellman reports that Vice President Dick Cheney lied to House Majority Leader Richard Armey about the case for going to war in Iraq -- falsely claiming to Armey, in a private meeting, that Iraq was able to miniaturize and thus render portable weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and to distribute them through Al Qaeda. According to Gellman, Armey believes that, absent the lie, he would have opposed the war resolution adamantly, and might have stopped the war. Dean explores Cheney's alleged lie from the perspective of how it undermined the separation of powers -- by convincing a highly influential Congressional leader to change his position to that which the Executive wanted him to hold.
Friday, Sept. 19, 2008

The Sarah Palin Selection: Why McCain's Inexperienced Running Mate Falls Short of Meeting the Implicit Constitutional Qualifications For Vice Presidents
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that the Constitution implies that Vice Presidents -- and thus, candidates for that office -- must have qualifications and experience greater than that of Alaska Governor and GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Drawing on the text and history of the Constitution and related succession statutes, Dean contends that no Congress would have confirmed Palin had she been nominated by a sitting president to fill a vacancy in the office of Vice President. He contends that from this premise, it follows that Palin also should not have been chosen by John McCain to run for the office this November.
Friday, Sept. 05, 2008

Smears and Slurs without Legal Consequences: How the Law Protects Jerome Corsi's Malicious Attacks on Barack Obama, In His Book Obama Nation
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on whether Barack Obama could successfully sue Jerome Corsi based on statements made in Corsi's book attacking Obama, "Obama Nation." Focusing on fifty damaging statements that the Obama campaign has persuasively rebutted as false, Dean explains why, under American defamation law, these statements probably could not form the basis of a successful defamation suit against Corsi. In contrast, Dean contends, John Kerry could and should have sued Corsi based on Corsi's prior book repeating "Swift Boat" allegations against Kerry. Dean also suggests that, when the law provides no recourse against damaging falsities like those in "Obama Nation," it may be time to modify the law.
Friday, Aug. 22, 2008

Judge Bates Slams the Bush White House's Claims of Congressional Immunity: Why There May Be No Consequences for the White House, Despite the Clear Ruling
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the recent ruling by Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case in which the House of Representatives seeks to enforce subpoenas for testimony and documents from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Jonathan Bolten, in relation to the allegedly politicized firing of a series of U.S. Attorneys. Dean commends Bates for not only ruling in favor of the House, but also adopting the kind of no-nonsense tone in his opinion that sends a clear message. Dean notes, however, that despite the firmness of the opinion, the upcoming election may well end up mooting the pending subpoenas before they can be enforced.
Friday, Aug. 8, 2008

Congressman Kucinich's Impeachment Resolution, the Parallel to Nixon, and Why Even Nixon's Defenders Finally Abandoned Him
With the House Judiciary Committee holding a hearing today on "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations," FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean contends that the Bush Administration's abuses of power are so extreme, they should cause not just Congressional Democrats -- like Dennis Kucinich, who has proposed an impeachment resolution -- but also Republicans to turn against the Administration. Dean draws a parallel to the crimes of President Nixon, explaining why and how Nixon's lying caused even his staunch supporters to change their minds in the end.
Friday, Jul. 25, 2008

The Report of a Consummate Washington Lawyer: Insights from Robert Bennett's "In The Ring"
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean considers the fascinating insider's perspective offered in Washington, D.C. power lawyer Robert Bennett's new book. Dean focuses, in particular, on Bennett's high-profile defenses of two famous Washington figures, Clark Clifford and Caspar Weinberger. As Dean explains, Bennett makes a strong case that both men were victims of prosecutorial overreaching -- and details the political motivations that may have inspired their prosecutions.
Friday, Jul. 11, 2008

Barack Obama and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments: In Pledging to Work to Remove Retroactive Immunity for FISA Violations, What Kind of Action Is Obama Contemplating?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama's position regarding possible penalties for the Bush Administration's decision to flout the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by proceeding with its warrantless wiretapping program. Dean explains why current legislation regarding FISA would not hamper the next president's ability to push forward with criminal charges; cites the position regarding possible criminal charges that Obama had previously voiced; and describes the pardon dilemma with which President Bush may be faced if Obama continues to adhere to that position.
Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2008

The Importance of Scott McClellan's Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee -- Including Possible New Obstruction of Justice Charges for Scooter Libby and Karl Rove
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the significance and potential consequences of Scott McClellan's scheduled June 20 Congressional testimony. Dean notes that there is virtually no chance that Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey would act upon any evidence of obstruction of justice by Scooter Libby or Karl Rove that McClellan reveals. Yet Dean also points out that Mukasey's judgment may not be the end of the story here, for there is a real possibility that, if Senator Obama is elected President in November, then Obama -- based on statements he has made -- will ask his Attorney General to carefully consider whether further charges are warranted.
Friday, Jun. 13, 2008

Why Congress Must Act to Protect Air Passengers: A Lawsuit Brought by Passengers Trapped on the Tarmac Without Basic Necessities Part Two in a Two-Part Series
In Part Two of a two-part series of columns, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that Congress should take quick action in the wake of a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejecting New York's bid to protect airline passengers' rights. As Dean notes, the Second Circuit held that New York lacks the power to guarantee basic necessities such as food, water, and functioning toilets for airline passengers stranded for many hours on the tarmac at JFK or LaGuardia airports. Dean explains the implications of the Second Circuit's holding, describes progress in Congress so far, and contends that a federal statute in this area is long overdue.
Friday, Apr. 18, 2008

Airline Passengers, Beware: The Government Does Not Protect Your Rights When You Fly, As a Recent Federal Appellate Decision Attests
In Part One of a two-part series of columns on airline passengers' rights, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The decision, Dean explains, held that airline passengers' rights are essentially a federal, not a state, concern, and therefore struck down a New York law aimed at protecting passengers. As Dean notes, many passengers who are held captive on the tarmac for many hours without basic necessities such as food, water, and working bathrooms, have felt quite differently -- believing, and arguing in court, that their ordeals fulfill the requirements for the state-law tort of false imprisonment. Dean details the scope and nature of the problem, and calls for Congress to take action.
Friday, Apr. 04, 2008

Barack Obama's Smart Speech "A More Perfect Union": Did It Reveal Him To Be Too Intellectual To Be President?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses presidential candidate Barack Obama's recent speech about race in America. Dean praises the speech as unusually intelligent and erudite, but raises the question of whether it will be a negative with voters if Obama is perceived as an intellectual. Employing a well-known test that matches written texts with particular grade levels, based on their difficulty and sophistication, Dean notes that Obama's speech scores a 10.5 -- ranking significantly higher than the inaugural addresses of many recent presidents. Dean also contrasts Obama's approach with what he argues has been the anti-intellectualism of many recent Republican candidates and presidents.
Friday, Mar. 21, 2008

Clinton and Obama, or Obama and Clinton: Will There Be a Hollywood Ending to This Dramatic Story?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean offers an interesting, provocative take on the Clinton/Obama battle for the Democratic nomination, placing it into the classical five-act dramatic structure. Dean suggests that we are currently in the fourth act -- and predicts that the remaining primaries will fail to select a nominee. He also envisions a momentous and potentially suprising fifth act, at the convention, that may well result in an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket.
Friday, Mar. 07, 2008

The New York Times Story Linking John McCain with Lobbyist Vicki Iseman: Should It Have Been Published?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses yesterday's controversial New York Times story quoting sources claiming that U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John McCain engaged in inappropriate conduct with respect to lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Dean raises questions about the Times's decision to publish the story. However, Dean also questions why, given that both McCain and Iseman have denied the story's claims, neither has sued for defamation or demanded a retraction to date.
Friday, Feb. 22, 2008

How Republicans Have Proven Themselves to Be Bad For a Good Economy
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean contends that Republicans, once the proponents of fiscal austerity, have since the Reagan Administration been far more irresponsible when it comes to the economy than Democrats. He also argues that modern Republicans have betrayed the party's prior small-government, free-trade values.
Friday, Feb. 08, 2008

The Dwindling Republican Business Base: It's the Economy, Stupid
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean contends that the Republican Party is increasingly losing the allegiance of the business community, and for good reason. Offering a historical perspective, Dean notes that of the last eight recessions America has suffered, all but the first, in 1948, occurred during Republican presidencies. In addition, on a number of contemporary issues, Dean argues that the Republican Party's positions have skewed far from those of many in the business community, especially those who run small or mid-sized businesses.
Friday, Jan. 25, 2008

Fixing the Broken Presidential Nomination Process
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the problems plaguing our presidential nomination process. Dean criticizes the current process as being far too front-loaded and compressed, and giving undue influence to states whose populations do not accurately represent America as a whole. He also contends that this year's primary schedule could not have been worse if it had been designed by a madman, as it creates constant logistical problems for the candidates, forces them to depend on major donors, and fails to serve its purpose of allowing the parties to make reasoned, thoughtful, fair decisions as to who the best possible candidate would be. The solution, Dean contends, is rotating regional primaries.
Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Footnote on a Political Classic: The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
Who really wrote Barry Goldwater's landmark political tract "The Conscience of a Conservative"? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean says the answer is simple and straightforwad: none other than Goldwater himself. Based on his research into the Goldwater archive, conducted jointly with Barry Goldwater, Jr., Dean cites specific, powerful evidence that rebuts widespread claims that Goldwater did not write the book that bore his name.
Friday, Dec. 28, 2007

Footnote on a Political Classic: The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
Who really wrote Barry Goldwater's landmark political tract "The Conscience of a Conservative"? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean says the answer is simple and straightforwad: none other than Goldwater himself. Based on his research into the Goldwater archive, conducted jointly with Barry Goldwater, Jr., Dean cites specific, powerful evidence that rebuts widespread claims that Goldwater did not write the book that bore his name.
Friday, Dec. 28, 2007

The Investigations of the Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes: How An ACLU Lawsuit Might Force the Bush Administration To Reveal What Actually Happened
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean considers what actions Southern District of New York federal judge Alvin Hellerstein may take regarding the CIA's reported destruction of tapes of detainee interrogations that employed torture. It appears that the CIA should have produced, or at least preserved, the tapes in response to a document request by the ACLU in a case before Judge Hellerstein investigating the treatment of detainees. Though there are ten or more ongoing investigations into the tapes and their destruction, Dean predicts the most fruitful avenue of inquiry of all will center on Judge Hellerstein's courtroom.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

The Effort to Change California Election Law, Through an Initiative, to Help the GOP: Why Democrats Should Not Only Fight It, But Also Push For a National Popular Vote Plan
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the political fight over a California initiative that would change California's system for the allocation of electoral votes. More specifically, if the initiative were to pass, electoral votes would be allocated based on the proportion of votes each presidential candidate receives, rather than according to the current winner-take-all system. Since only two other states have taken this approach, Dean believes this is merely a ploy to get more Republican electoral votes for California, while allowing Republicans still to gain votes from other, winner-take-all Republican-dominated states. He contends that while opposing the initiative, Democrats should also advocate for another proposal, which would ensure that the presidential election result matches the national popular vote, as it failed to do in 2000.
Friday, Nov. 30, 2007

George W. Bush's Presidential Library: Can Democrats Stop Bush and Cheney From Depriving The Library of The Papers They Wish to Keep Secret?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean explains the disturbing situation regarding the presidential papers of the George W. Bush Administration. Dean notes that through Executive Order 13233, President Bush negated key provisions of the 1978 presidential records law enacted in the aftermath of Watergate. Now, Dean explains, President Bush and Vice President Cheney seem poised to take advantage of the Executive Order to erect a shield of secrecy around their key papers. Dean explains that, while a future president's revised Executive Order would likely not be able to reach the Bush/Cheney papers, Congress still may be able to influence Bush and Cheney to turn them over, if Congress makes the government's funding of the administration of the future library contingent on the full inclusion of all presidential papers.
Friday, Nov. 16, 2007

Political Processes Matter: Although They Are Often Ignored By American News Media, A New British Import Has Addressed The Issue Directly
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that a view that has become conventional wisdom inside the Beltway -- that American voters do not care about political-process issues such as secrecy, bipartisanship, or the violation of longtime procedures -- is dead wrong. Dean also applauds Michael Tomasky, editor of the UK Guardian's new online edition, for going where American journalists generally do not go, to ask candidates about issues of process and power, as Tomasky did in a recent interview with Hillary Clinton.
Friday, Nov. 02, 2007

Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom: The Case Against Expanding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Powers
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues against Congress's expanding domestic surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In addition, Dean argues that Congress should not immunize those telecoms that cooperated with Bush Administration requests regarding surveillance and may therefore be subject to federal criminal penalties. More generally, Dean draws upon the work of George Washington law professor Daniel Solove to seek to rebut the argument that those who have nothing to hide are not harmed by government surveillance.
Friday, Oct. 19, 2007

Alan Greenspan's Autobiography, and His Decision to Switch Political Parties
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the content of Alan Greenspan's new autobiography and on Greenspan's decision, which mirrors Dean's own, to switch from being a registered Republican to being an Independent. Dean discusses both Greenspan's reasons for making the switch and Greenspan's promise that he will, nevertheless, be voting Republican in 2008. He also discusses Greenspan's critique of recent Republican actions affecting the budget, the deficit, and the economy.
Thursday, Oct. 04, 2007

The Impact of Authoritarian Conservatism On American Government: Part Three in a Three-Part Series
In this column, the last in a three-part series, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean continues to discuss issues relating to his best-selling book Conservatives Without Conscience, and his thesis that today's Republican Party is dominated by authoritarian personalities, in the roles of both leaders and followers. In this column, Dean discusses Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon, classifying both as strong authoritarian personalities. He also assesses Nixon's and George W. Bush's contributions to the way the presidency is conceptualized today.
Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2007

Why Authoritarians Now Control the Republican Party: The Rise of Authoritarian Conservatism Part Two in a Three-Part Series
With this second column, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean continues a three-part series of columns relating to his best-selling book Conservatives Without Conscience. Dean's thesis is that both the leadership and membership of today's Republican Party are dominated by authoritarian personalities. In this column, he goes into detail regarding research by Professor Bob Altemeyer on both authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders, and traces the historical roots -- going back to Alexander Hamilton -- of the authoritarian personality's influence on American government.
Friday, Sep. 21, 2007

Understanding the Contemporary Republican Party: Authoritarians Have Taken Control Part One in a Three-Part Series
With this column, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean begins a three-part series relating to his best-selling book Conservatives Without Conscience. In this column, Dean argues that to understand the contemporary Republican party, it is necessary to understand longstanding social science research, particularly the research of Professor Bob Altemeyer, regarding two types of authoritarian personalities: those of authoritarian leaders and those of authoritarian followers.
Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2007

Will A Dark Cloud Follow Karl Rove Back To Texas?: Congress Is Still Investigating Serious Criminal Abuses of Executive Powers
Why is key presidential advisor Karl Rove leaving the Bush Administration at this particular moment? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean considers possible explanations. Dean suggests Rove's decision may be connected not only to his declining to appear to testify before Congress, citing executive privilege, but also to a possible fear on Rove's part that, unless he keeps a low profile, Congress will discover the extent to which Rove injected partisanship into the Bush Administration, even in areas that should have remained free of it. Dean raises a potential parallel between the Bush and Nixon Administrations in this respect, and considers whether Rove's possible conduct may not only have been overly partisan, but also run afoul of federal criminal statutes, and if so, whether it should lead to prosecution.
Friday, Aug. 24, 2007

The So-Called Protect America Act: Why Its Sweeping Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Pose Not Only a Civil Liberties Threat, But a Greater Danger As Well
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the recently-enacted Protect America Act, which gives the President greater surveillance power by enacting sweeping changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Dean argues that the law not only infringes privacy, but also allows the expansion of executive power. He contends that if Congress does not curtail the law's scope when it is renewed (for it sunsets quickly), its members will pay the price at the polls.
Friday, Aug. 10, 2007

Joe Wilson's War: Though He and His Wife Valerie Plame Lost Their Lawsuit against Cheney and Others, It's Only One Battle in a Fight that Flushed Out Much Truth
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that, despite the recent ruling dismissing the lawsuit by Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson against Vice-President Cheney and others, the Wilsons are victors in a larger sense. Dean cites as evidence all the information that has been made public as a result of Joseph Wilson's decision to publish a New York Times Op Ed disputing President Bush's State of the Union Niger-uranium claims, and as a result of the ensuing Special Counsel investigation into the disclosure of his wife Valerie's status as a covert CIA agent.
Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2007

Harriet Miers's Contempt of Congress: Are Conservatives About To Neuter Congress, While Claiming Full Legal Justification for this Separation-of-Powers Violation?
Can President Bush get away with instructing former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to disobey a House Judiciary Committee subpoena ordering her to appear to provide testimony relating to the U.S. Attorney scandal? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean points to one tactic -- last invoked in 1934 -- that Congress could use to force compliance. He also suggests how this inter-branch standoff may play out if that tactic is not employed.
Friday, Jul. 13, 2007

The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney: The Vice President's Record of Willfully Violating the Law, And Wrongly Claiming Authority to Do So
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean chronicles Vice President Cheney's claims, over the course of the Bush Administration, that various laws do not apply to him or to the President. Dean focuses, in particular, on Cheney's explanation for why he defied National Security Classification orders: the assertion that, as Vice President, he is neither an "entity" nor an "agency." Dean also contends that Cheney is ignoring the boundaries of the limited role the Constitution prescribes for the Vice President.
Friday, Jun. 29, 2007

Scooter Libby's Appeal: The Focus Shifts To the Highly Political U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on what appears to be a change in the legal strategy of Scooter Libby. (Libby, as readers will likely be aware, was convicted of and sentenced for perjury and related offenses, in connection with the Special Counsel investigation into the exposure of Valerie Plame's identity as a covert CIA agent.) Recently, as Dean explains, Libby brought in a new attorney to take a more aggressive approach in attempting to convince the judge in Libby's case to allow Libby to remain free pending appeal. Dean predicts that the approach will ultimately fail -- for an appeal of the decision to jail him immediately will not succeed.
Friday, Jun. 15, 2007

The Bush Administration's Dilemma Regarding a Possible Libby Pardon - And How Outsiders Such as Fred Thompson Appear to Be Working on a Solution
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the possibility -- and the risks -- of a potential pardon by President Bush of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. (Libby, as readers will likely be aware, was convicted by a jury of false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice charges arising from the Special Counsel Investigation of the revelation of the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.) Dean estimates how long a sentence of imprisonment Judge Walton is likely to give to Libby and when he will be required to begin serving it, and takes strong issue with contentions by Senator and potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson and others that Plame was never really a covert agent in the first place and thus did not fall under the core law the Special Counsel invoked. In addition, Dean draws on historical parallels, including some drawn from specific Watergate sentences and the Marc Rich pardon controversy, to illuminate his analysis.
Friday, Jun. 01, 2007

Recent Developments in the Scandal over the Attorney General's Performance: Alberto Gonzales Displays Contempt for Congress, And Perhaps the Department of Justice As Well
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a number of recent incidents that he argues demonstrate, beyond a doubt, that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should either be fired or resign. In addition to charges that U.S. Attorneys' firings were politically-motivated, Dean also examines Gonzales's role in prompting an unnecessary clash between the Legislative and Executive Branches, by failing to consult with Congressional leaders before executing an FBI raid on the office of Congressman William Jefferson. Finally, Dean notes the sharp conflict between testimony given by Gonzales and by James Comey, who was Acting Attorney General when the Executive was debating whether the warrantless wiretapping program should go forward in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Friday, May. 18, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's "Reconfirmation Hearings": Why, In the End, They Will Change Nothing
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John W. Dean discusses the recent hearings probing into Attorney General Gonzales's role in a series of U.S. Attorney firings. Dean considers some of the most interesting revelations of the hearings, comments on how even Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have been sharply critical of Gonzales, and explains why no one should expect to see Gonzales either get fired or resign.
Friday, Apr. 20, 2007

Evidence of Tom DeLay's Authoritarianism: A Question-and-Answer Session with Dr. Bob Altemeyer About DeLay's New Autobiography
In a question-and-answer session, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the recently-released autobiography of former Republican majority leader Tom DeLay, entitled "No Retreat, No Surrender," with expert psychologist Bob Altemeyer. Altemeyer finds strong evidence indicating an authoritarian personality based on his reading of DeLay's book, and on publicly-known facts about DeLay.
Friday, Apr. 06, 2007

New Developments in the U.S. Attorney Controversy: Why Bush Refuses to Allow Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to Testify Before Congress, and What Role New White House Counsel Fred Fielding May Play
Will the Bush Administration continue to assert executive privilege with respect to documents and testimony Congress seeks relating to the controversy over U.S. firings? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean contends that it's very likely the Administration will, indeed, hold firm in this stance. In support of his view, Dean considers the background of new White House Counsel Fred Fielding, whom Dean himself brought into government years ago, and the Bush Administration's embrace of the "unitary executive" theory. Dean also recalls a similar controversy involving EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch, which played out during the Reagan years.
Friday, Mar. 23, 2007

A Question-and-Answer Session with Thomas B. Edsall, Author of Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean asks veteran political reporter and author Thomas B. Edsall a series of questions arising from Edsall's recent book about Republican strategies for winning elections. The resulting Q&A illustrates many interesting points that will be relevant to Election '08, including one regarding how the strategies of Republicans and Democrats may necessarily differ -- with Republicans concentrating on getting their core voters to the polls, and Democrats instead courting swing voters.
Friday, Mar. 09, 2007

The Supreme Court Is At the Tipping Point: Should A Democratic Senate Prevent Bush From Creating A Solidly Conservative Court? An Historic Perspective, and Some Advice to the Senate
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that the Democratic Senate can and should block President Bush, as a lame duck leader, from nominating a conservative, rather than a moderate, for a seat on the Supreme Court if a vacancy occurs. Dean draws on examples from John Adams's and Lyndon Johnson's presidencies to provide context for his analysis. He also explains why the next vacancy on the Court may be an especially crucial one.
Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

Leading Experts Say Congress Must Stop An Attack on Iran: Is That Constitutionally Possible? Absolutely - According to Experts on Both Sides of the Aisle
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the question of whether Congress has the power to stop the U.S. from attacking Iran. Drawing on testimony recently given by a number of experts before Congress, Dean notes that all agreed that Congress indeed has this power under the Constitution. Their only disagreement was as to whether, as a policy matter, Congress ought to use the power -- generally, and in this particular case. Even prior Republican administration officials who testified, Dean points out, concede that the power exists.
Friday, Feb. 09, 2007

The Controversy over Curtailing Habeas Corpus Rights: Why It Is a Bad Day For The Constitution Whenever Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Testifies
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the ongoing controversy over the Bush Administration's attempt to curtail the constitutional habeas corpus rights of Guantanamo prisoners. Dean focuses, especially, on a recent colloquy between Senator Arlen Specter and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the subject -- contending that the position Gonzales took (that the Constitution does not guarantee habeas corpus rights, but merely sets out conditions for their suspension) is egregiously wrong: an Anti-federalist position rejected some 220 years ago. Dean also details and evaluates Gonzales's reaction to Specter's charge that Gonzales failed to keep his word with respect to a compromise in which Gonzales had promised to respect Congressional oversight rights.
Friday, Jan. 26, 2007

The Arsenal of Tools Congressional Democrats Can Use To Force the Bush Administration To Cooperate with Their Efforts To Undertake Oversight:
Part Three in a Three-Part Series

In the third in a three-part series of columns about ways for the new Democrat-led Congress to conduct oversight of the Bush Administration, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a number of particular oversight tools. Among the weapons in Congress' arsenal, Dean contends, are the appropriations, impeachment, and confirmation powes; the power to issue subpoenas and hold those who do not respond in contempt; and the powers to invoke the "Seven Member rule" and to use resolutions of inquiry. As to each power, Dean offers historical context for its use or non-use in the past. Can the Administration defeat all these weapons by simply invoking so-called executive privilege? Dean explains why that may be very difficult.
Friday, Jan. 12, 2007

What Should Congressional Democrats Do, When the Bush Administration Stonewalls Their Efforts To Undertake Oversight?:
Part Two in a Three-Part Series

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean continues his series of columns on possible responses Congressional Democrats could undertake if, as expected, the Bush Administration resists their efforts at oversight. In this column, Dean notes the lack of express constitutional guidance as to such a clash, the federal courts' likely invocation of the "political question" doctrine to avoid intervening, and historical examples -- going all the way back to George Washington -- in which Congress did, indeed, get the information it sought.
Friday, Dec. 29, 2006

Refocusing the Impeachment Movement on Administration Officials Below the President and Vice-President:
Why Not Have A Realistic Debate, with Charges that Could Actually Result in Convictions?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that, while there is a very strong case to be made for seeking the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Democrats would be foolish to do so, for their efforts would be futile in the end. Dean suggests refocusing the debate over possible impeachments, to concentrate on lower-level Administration officials, who could then be disqualified from holding future office. To make his case, Dean draws upon the only historical instance in which a lower-level official was impeached.
Friday, Dec. 15, 2006

Are Congressional Wars Coming? Since Cheney Has Already Said He'll Ignore the Democratic Congress, It Seems Likely
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws on both recent history (especially from the Clinton years) and current developments to predict the advent of some very contentious conflicts in Congress. Dean believes Democrats won't engage in the kind of hardball tactics that Republicans employed in the Clinton years, but he does predict intense Democratic interest in, and action on, the series of scandals that have plagued the Administration -- many of them involving the Vice President.
Friday, Dec. 01, 2006

The President's Decision to Resubmit Five Highly Controversial Judicial Nominees: Why It's a Mistake, and How to Fix the Broken Confirmation Process
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean analyzes the likely repercussions of President Bush's decision to five highly controversial federal court nominees (as well as one who is not controversial) to the lame-duck Senate. Dean anticipates that Democrats will surely filibuster, and that Republicans will then contemplate using the "nuclear option" -- effectively amending Senate rules, via a ruling by Dick Cheney serving as President of the Senate, supported by a bare majority of Senators, to eliminate the possibility of filibustering judicial nominees. Dean cautions, however, that the consequences of such an unwise choice by Republicans are likely to be severe.
Friday, Nov. 17, 2006

Underpaid And Overworked: The National Disgrace of Undercompensating Federal Judges, While Allowing Their Workload to Balloon
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that it's high time the salaries of federal judges were raised substantially. With college tuition high and private practice salaries alluring, Dean explains, it is hard to keep the best and the brightest with the comparative low salaries federal judges are currently paid. Dean cites specific examples of judges leaving the bench for higher-paying positions, and contends that judges have a far stronger case for a raise than do members of Congress.
Friday, Nov. 03, 2006

David Kuo's Book "Tempting Faith": The Author's Agenda, the Authoritarian Behavior He Reports, And the White House's Response
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses David Kuo's recent book, Tempting Faith, in which the former deputy-director of the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives claims, controversially, that members of the Bush Administration have mocked the very Religious Right leaders who helped put them in power. Dean draws on the work of social psychologist Bob Altemeyer to help explain how this could have happened; Altemeyer suggests that authoritarian personalities think ill of their own supporters, for they have conned and manipulated them.
Friday, Oct. 20, 2006

The Foley Follies: What Can Be Learned From The History of Congressional Sex Scandals, And How Can the Page Program Be Reformed?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean looks at the lessons of the ongoing scandal involving Congressman Mark Foley's conduct relating to teenage Congressional pages. Dean -- who has compiled a quick history of all Congressional sex scandals -- focuses here on those involving minors and, especially, those involving pages. Dean considers what lessons can be learned with respect to abolition or reform of the page program.
Friday, Oct. 06, 2006

Thoughts on the "Bringing Terrorists to Justice Act of 2006"
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes extremely strong exception to the Bush Administration's proposed legislation regarding terrorism suspects. Dean argues -- among other points -- that the legislation betrays the Geneva Conventions, insults the Supreme Court by ignoring its Hamdan decision, and would retroactively absolve those who knowingly authorized or performed torture. While Dean has no general quarrel with the use of military tribunals in this context, and sees good reason not to try terrorism suspects in the federal courts, he contends that the tribunals envisioned by the Administration -- which would not follow even court-martial procedures -- are appallingly contrary to law and justice.
Friday, Sep. 22, 2006

Why Are We Suddenly At War With "Islamic Fascists"? A Neologism that Signals a Change in Strategy As Elections Near
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the possible meaning of a recent change in locution -- the Bush Administration's new tendency to refer to War on Terror enemies as "Islamic Fascists" or "Islamofascists." Dean argues -- drawing on work by John Mueller, Sidney Blumenthal, Katha Pollitt, and Bill Maher --- that in this case, the answer to the question "What's in a name?" is interesting and potentially significant for November's Congressional elections.
Friday, Sep. 08, 2006

Michelle Goldberg's Study of the Rise of Christian Nationalism, and Its Adherents' Strategy to Use the Courts to Further Their Agenda
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws on Salon writer Michelle Goldberg's recent book on Christian nationalism to argue that this movement is dangerous in that it imperils the constitutional separation of church and state. This threat is a very real one, Dean explains, because among the movement's goals are to place its believers in positions as federal judges -- and, he notes, a few like-minded federal judges are already on the bench.
Friday, Aug. 25, 2006

Two Congressional Experts Explain What Has Gone Very Wrong With Congress
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean contends that Congress' workings have become highly dysfunctional -- and turns to a recent book by the Brookings Insitute's Thomas E. Mann and the American Enterprise Institute's Norman J. Ornstein to assess the authors' suggestions for why Congress is the way it is now, and how it might be changed to better fulfill its role. Dean considers, among other points, if 2006 and 2008 elections may make a difference -- and if so, how and why.
Friday, Aug. 11, 2006

Why Robert Scheer's New Book, Playing President, is Sheer Delight: A Seasoned Journalist Shares His Take on Six Presidents And Presidential Campaigns
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses -- and praises -- reporter Robert Scheer's new book on a series of presidencies: those of Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II. Dean finds particularly fascinating Scheer's account of how the Carter campaign was almost destroyed by the Playboy interview -- conducted by Scheer -- in which the candidate admitted to "lusting in his heart."
Friday, Jul. 28, 2006

The Bush Administration's Adversarial Relationship with Congress --
as Illustrated by Its Refusal to Even Provide the Number of Signing Statements Issued by President Bush

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean offers a close critique of the information recently provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Bush Administration at a hearing on the President's use of signing statements. Dean explains the issues arising from the use of such statements: By expressing reservations about the constitutionality of provisions of a statute that is nonetheless signed by the President, they arguably both evade the President's duty to veto statutes he deems unconstitutional, and leave Congress and the public without fair prior notice of what a given statute really means. Dean criticizes the Administration for its fuzzy numbers relating to the President's prolific use of such statements -- and for simply describing as "numerous" the most controversial type of signing statement.
Friday, Jul. 14, 2006

Senators Kyl and Graham's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Scam: The Deceptive Amicus Brief They Filed in the Guantanamo Detainee Case
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the amicus brief filed by Senators Kyl and Graham in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case in which the Supreme Court recently rejected the Administration's plans for dealing with Guantanamo detainees. Kyl and Graham's brief supported the government's position that the Court had no jurisdiction due to the Detainee Treatment Act. Drawing on sharp reportage by Slate's Emily Bazelon, Dean critiques the brief's inclusion of a faux-colloquy "legislative history" as deceptive; he explains, too, how Kyl and Graham took a very different position when they joined with Senator Levin in amending the Act, than they did later in the brief and purported legislative history.
Wednesday, Jul. 05, 2006

ACLU v. National Security Agency: Why the "State Secrets Privilege" Shouldn't Stop the Lawsuit Challenging Warrantless Telephone Surveillance of Americans
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the ACLU's recent federal lawsuit challenging the NSA's warrantless telephone surveillance of Americans as a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Constitution's First and Fourth Amendments. As Dean explains, government attorneys have urged the judge hearing the case, Anna Diggs Taylor to dismiss it on the basis of the "state secrets" privilege. Dean argues, however, that such a dismissal would be a grave mistake, both due to the fact that the FISA violation can be proven, in this instance, by the government's public admissions alone, and the ugly history of overaggressive invocation of the "state secrets" privilege where it was not merited, including in the Pentagon Papers case.
Friday, Jun. 16, 2006

Incivility in the House of Unrepresentatives: Washington Post Reporter Juliet Eilperin Scrutinizes the People's House
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean draws on Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin's book to explore an important question: With two-thirds of Americans dissatisfied with Congress, what's wrong, and how can it be fixed? Dean covers issues such as why the House is so polarized, and how gerrymandering ensures incumbents have an even greater advantage than usual. He also notes the influence of two-minute speech limits and the tendency of members to live in their home district for most of the week.
Friday, Jun. 02, 2006

How Does President Bush Compare with Other Wartime Presidents With Respect to Free Speech Issues?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean compares the Bush presidency with prior administrations when it comes to civil liberties issues -- with a focus on free speech. Dean draws on the work of U. Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone to argue that, rather than justifying Bush Administration actions, historical precedents suggest the current Administration has gone much too far -- resorting to tactics even Nixon eschewed.
Friday, May. 19, 2006

The Conservative Case for President Bush's Exercise of Presidential Powers: Why It Fails to Convince, and Ignores Mainstream View on the Constitution
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a recent panel that focused on the question whether the Bush Administration has exceeded the constitutionally-mandated scope of president powers. Dean focuses, in particular, on the contentions of two speakers, who represented the two sides of the political spectrum: Liberal New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, and conservative former Bush Administration attorney Patrick Philbin. Dean explains why he found Philbin's arguments unpersuasive -- and outside the mainstream of expert opinion on the issue.
Friday, May. 05, 2006

If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean evaluates President Bush's current performance against political scientist Dr. James Dave Barber's catalog of Presidents' personality types. Dean argues that Bush has proven to be an active/negative president, finding his job emotionally taxing but aggressive in his approach to it -- and thus is in the company of Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Dean assesses the implications of this categorization, and also predicts what Bush's "October Surprise" this year may be.
Friday, Apr. 21, 2006

The Truth About Lewis "Scooter" Libby's Statements to the Grand Jury Claiming the President Authorized a Leak of Classified Information:
The President and Vice President Are Not In the Clear Yet

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean assesses the importance of -- and corrects some widespread misconceptions about -- the recent revelation of statements to the grand jury by Lewis "Scooter" Libby claiming that the President, with the Vice President's knowledge, authorized a leak of classified information. Dean also notes what impact Libby's statements might have on the Bush Administration.
Friday, Apr. 07, 2006

An Update on President Bush's NSA Program: The Historical Context, Specter's Recent Bill, and Feingold's Censure Motion
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean both provides historical context for President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, and assesses Congress' recent responses to the program. Dean praises Senator Arlen Specter's solution -- to send the issue to the FISA court -- but explains why Bush won't avail himself of it, nor of Senators Dewine, Graham, Hagel and Snowe's solution. Dean also comments on Senator Feingold's motion to censure Bush.
Friday, Mar. 24, 2006

The Broken Branch: An Unusual Lawsuit Takes Congress to Task For Shoddy and Partisan Lawmaking, In Which A Bill Is Unconstitutionally Being Treated as Law
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the strange situation of a bill that is being treated as a law, even though it has not been passed by both Houses of Congress, as the Constitution requires. Dean explains how this came about, why it's unconstitutional, and why one attorney has decided to try to get the bill's status clarified by a court, so that he can advise his clients whether they need to comply.
Friday, Mar. 10, 2006

Why Should Anyone Worry About Whose Communications Bush and Cheney Are Intercepting, If It Helps To Find Terrorists?
With some Americans asking why the NSA's warrantless wiretapping should concern them at all, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean offers some very specific answers. Dean explains why there is a real risk that data mining will yield false positives, and also explains why the lessons of World War II have caused Americans increasingly to learn to value individual privacy, and hold it dear.
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006

Vice President Cheney and The Fight Over "Inherent" Presidential Powers: His Attempt to Swing the Pendulum Back Began Long Before 9/11
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that while the Bush Administration has defended the NSA's warrantless wiretapping by invoking the perils of the post-9/11 world, expansion of executive power was on Vice President Cheney's agenda long before 9/11. Dean parallels the views Cheney expressed in the minority report on the Iran-Contra affair -- which also involved a specific Congressional statute disobeyed by the President -- with those the Administration is voicing today.
Friday, Feb. 10, 2006

The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses President Bush's use of signing statements to accompany legislation. Dean contends that Bush is using the statements as the equivalent of line-item vetos -- even though the Supreme Court held the line-item veto to be a violation of the Constitution's Presentment Claus, and even though the veto is supposed to be the President's exclusive avenue, under the Constitution, to prevent bills from becoming law. Dean predicts that Bush's signing statement practices will bring him into conflict with Congress, and also with his own Department of Justice.
Friday, Jan. 13, 2006

George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably;
Both Claimed That a President May Violate Congress' Laws to Protect National Security

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on the recent revelation of President Bush's authorization of warrantless wiretaps, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and in disregard of the FISA Court. Dean notes that President Nixon's bill of impeachment listed illegal wiretaps, and parallels the points of view Nixon and Bush have expressed with respect to presidential power.
Friday, Dec. 30, 2005

Shocking The Conscience Of America: Bush And Cheney Call For The Right To Torture And Are Decisively and Correctly Rebuffed by the House
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean decries the Bush Administration's attempt to block limits on the U.S.'s ability to torture prisoners. Dean details and comments on Senator McCain's proposed provisions relating to torture, and argues that the Administration's position on these proposals is a low point in American history -- comparing it to other much-criticized presidential stances. Dean also takes on the famous "ticking time bomb" argument for torture.
Friday, Dec. 16, 2005

Justice Scalia's Thoughts, And A Few Of My Own, on New York Times v. Sullivan
Taking off from Justice Scalia's recent suggestion that the Supreme Court's "actual malice" standard for defamation of public figures is too high, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that it's high time for a reconsideration of the way the First Amendment intersects with defamation law. Dean takes issue not only with the "actual malice" standard itself, but also with the way in which courts have, he contends, too broadly defined what it means to be a "public figure" for these purposes.
Friday, Dec. 02, 2005

An Open Letter To Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald From Former White House Counsel John W. Dean
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean offers an open letter to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is in charge of the investigation of the revelation of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA agent. Dean argues that the lessons of the Teapot Dome scandal and of Watergate militate strongly in favor of Fitzgerald's broadening the scope of his investigation to consider not only whether crimes have been committed, but also whether those who were involved in leaks, but whose conduct did not rise to the level of criminal behavior, should still remain in the Bush Administration, in light of their betrayal of their employment contracts' promises to honor secrecy in order to serve national security.
Friday, Nov. 18, 2005

A Cheney-Libby Conspiracy, Or Worse? Reading Between the Lines of the Libby Indictment
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean closely examines the Special Counsel's indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby and his remarks at the press conference regarding the indictment. Dean concludes that it seems likely that the statements underlying the perjury charges against Libby may protected not only himself, but others, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, from Espionage Act charges.
Friday, Nov. 04, 2005

Waiting For The Valerie Plame Wilson Grand Jury: The Big Question Is Whether Dick Cheney Was a Target
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the various possible outcomes of the Valerie Plame leak grand jury investigation, headed by Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Dean addresses a number of key issues, including: Is the investigation likely to result in indictments? If so, of whom? What are the constitutional limits on indictments on those high up in the executive branch? What aspects of the evidence are likely to seem especially significant to Fitzgerald, as he decides whether a leak merits an indictment? If the leaks happened, will their motivation matter?
Friday, Oct. 21, 2005

The Case Against Tom DeLay: What Has Happened To Grand Jury Secrecy In Texas?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses legal issues surrounding the two indictments recently issued against Tom DeLay by Texas grand juries. Dean considers issues such as: Will DeLay's legal challenges to the indictments succeed? Why are grand jurors speaking out, despite secrecy rules? And are they violating secrecy rules when they do speak out?
Friday, Oct. 07, 2005

How the U.S. Senate Can Obtain Information From Former Federal Government Employees Who Are Now Supreme Court Nominees:
A New, More Direct Approach that Won't Require Fighting Over Records

In a statement that has been entered into the record of the U.S. Senate's hearings on Supreme Court candidate John Roberts, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a simple way that the Senate could learn more about similar candidates. This method -- which could be used with respect to the nominee for the second vacancy to the Court -- would be usable even if the Senate could not successfully subpoena records of nominees' prior government service.
Friday, Sep. 23, 2005

Doing Legal, Political, and Historical Research on the Internet: Using Blog Forums, Open Source Dictionaries, and More
If consulting the online versions of standard research tools fails, and one is doing legal, political, or historical research, what other options does the Internet offer? FindLaw columnist, former counsel to the president, and author John Dean reveals some of his favorites -- and shows how "open source" research tools, in particular, can be especially helpful.
Friday, Sep. 09, 2005

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter Presses Judge John Roberts on His Commerce Clause Views:
Will The "Ginsburg Rule" Apply?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean lauds Senator Arlen Specter's decision to push Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to elucidate his commerce clause views. Drawing on the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Ethics, Dean argues that it is entirely appropriate for Specter and others in the Senate to press Roberts about his views on specific cases -- as long as they stop short of asking for pre-commitments as to how he would rule if confirmed.
Friday, Aug. 12, 2005

Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts:
How Many Of His Government Records Can Be Hidden From the Senate?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the controversy over whether Supreme Court nominee John Roberts's papers from his time at the Office of the Solicitor General will be turned over to the Senate, to be used in his confirmation hearings. Dean explains the precedents set in this area with respect to the papers reflecting the time that prior nominees William Rehnquist and Robert Bork also spent as government lawyers. He contends that the Senate should not only push to see Roberts's papers, but press to ensure what is turned over is complete.
Friday, Jul. 29, 2005

It Appears That Karl Rove Is In Serious Trouble
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the legal situation of White House aide Karl Rove -- who apparently leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to Time magazine's Matt Cooper, and possibly other journalists as well. Dean concludes that, based on the information known to the public so far, Rove might not be able to be prosecuted for the leak under the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act, but may very well be able to be prosecuted under other statutes. Dean notes the strong parallel between the leak that prompted the prosecution of an earlier Bush Administration leaker, DEA analyst Jonathan Randel, and the leak for which Rove is apparently responsible. As Dean notes, Randel was jailed for a year for a leak that seems to have posed much less risk, and caused less injury, than Rove's.
Friday, Jul. 15, 2005

The U.S. Supreme Court's Holding in Kelo v. City of New London: An Interview that Reveals an Insider's Perspective
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean interviews Institute for Justice attorney Dana Berliner, the co-counsel for the plaintiffs in a controversial recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London The Court's majority ruled against the plaintiffs -- Connecticut homeowners who argued that their city could not use the power of eminent domain to take their homes in order to make way for "economic development." Berliner fills in the moving real-life facts behind the decision -- which means family homes must be given up, and elderly persons displaced -- and explains the basis for the plaintiff's argument that "economic development" is not the kind of "public use" for which, under our Constitution, private property can be taken.
Friday, Jul. 01, 2005

What Exactly Is Judicial Activism? The Charges Made Against the President's Judicial Nominees
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses allegations of judicial activism made by those on the right, and also by those on the left -- especially with regard to some of President Bush's current nominees for federal judgeships. Dean draws on a California Law Review Note by Keenan Kmiec to break down allegations of activism into five subcategories -- and then examines, within subcategories, when allegations of activism may work, and when they are, in his view, misguided.
Friday, Jun. 17, 2005

Why The Revelation of the Identity Of Deep Throat Has Only Created Another Mystery
FindLaw columnist John Dean -- counsel to President Nixon during some of the Watergate years -- contends that the revelation of the identity of Deep Throat, now known to be former FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt has raised a host of new questions that Felt and/or Bob Woodward ought to answer. They include the question why significant parts of the information Felt gave Woodward (parts which Dean details in an appendix) turned out to be false, and the question whether Felt had accomplices in the White House who aided him in communicating with Woodward and providing information on the Nixon tapes; the evidence suggests, Dean points out, that Deep Throat may not have been working alone.
Friday, Jun. 03, 2005

A New Chapter In The Valerie Plame Case:
Insights Gained From The New Edition of The Book by Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses a possible answer to a mystery related to the grand jury investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity: Why is the investigation focusing on reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper, when Miller did not write about the leak, and Cooper was not among the first to report the leak? Dean argues that the new edition of Plame's husband's book, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Put the White House on Trial and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity -- which includes material from reporter Russell Hoyle -- affords insight into this issue. It's likely, Dean suggests, that the investigation now focuses on obstruction and perjury charges -- in addition to, or in lieu of, criminal charges arising from the initial leak.
Friday, May. 20, 2005

Hatching A New Filibuster Precedent: The Senator From Utah's Revisionist History
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean surveys the historical record relating to Associate Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas's failed nomination, in 1968, to be Chief Justice. Looking to both contemporaneous newspaper accounts, and to biographers and other experts on the period Dean concludes that -- contrary to Senator Orrin Hatch's claims -- Fortas's nomination failed as a result of a Republican-led filibuster, and therefore set a precedent for modern Democrats' filibusters of judicial nominees. Dean points out, as well, that since the filibuster did succeed, to claim -- as Hatch has -- that Fortas would not have been confirmed anyway, because a majority of Senators would have opposed him, is sheer speculation.
Friday, May. 06, 2005

An Update on the Investigation Into the Leak Of CIA Agent Plame's Identity:
Will The Supreme Court Take The Miller And Cooper Cases?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses recent developments relating to the Special Counsel's investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame. Although columnist Robert Novak was the first to publish the leaked information, Special Counsel Fitzgerald has focused on two other reporters, The New York Times's Judith Miller and Time's Matthew Cooper. Will they eventually go to jail for their refusal to give up their confidential sources? Dean predicts the answer is yes; courts have unanimously ruled against them so far, and Dean contends that the Supreme Court is unlikely to choose to review the case, for several reasons.
Friday, Apr. 22, 2005

Senate Republicans' Bid to Destroy the Filibuster Option, And Push Through Ultraconservative Federal Judges:
It Seems Likely the "Nuclear Option" Actually Will Be Used

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues strongly against amending the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster option, but notes that just such an amendment is beginning to seem more and more likely. Dean predicts that the fight over such an amendment will never make it to court -- or if it does, will be dismissed under the "political question" doctrine -- and predicts, as well, that the success of such an amendment will inflict serious political costs on those who backed it.
Friday, Apr. 08, 2005

Will Changing the Egyptian Constitution's Election System Really Foster Democracy?:
Why Egypt-Watchers Don't Think So

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the specifics of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's proposal to amend the Egyptian Constitution to provide for direct election. Dean, who is back from a recent visit to Egypt where he discussed the matter with knowledgeable Egyptians and Americans, explains why two loopholes may ensure that, in fact, September's Egyptian elections are far from fair and free. Dean also notes continuing repression of free speech in Egypt -- another serious obstacle to democracy.
Friday, Mar. 25, 2005

A Fresh, Powerful Case for Amending the U.S. Constitution to Remove the "Natural Born" Qualification For the Presidency
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean comments on a new law review article that sets forth additional -- and, he contends, very strong -- arguments for abolishing the Constitution's "natural born" qualification for the Presidency. Dean explains why additional arguments for amending the Constitution to delete the "natural born" clause come from the federal succession statute (what if a non-"natural born" citizen is in line for the Presidency after a catastrophic terrorist attack) and from the existence of the unincorporated territories and the District of Columbia (does birth there preclude a run for the Presidency?)
Friday, Mar. 11, 2005

Christine Todd Whitman's Sampler: Is She Whining Or Warning In Her New Book?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean assesses Christine Todd Whitman's new book on Republicanism, It's My Party, Too -- and the critiques the book has drawn from both the right and the left. Dean argues that Whitman's warning to Republicans is a point well-taken: If the party continues to alienate moderates, he contends, it will lose significant power -- and ultimately lose elections, as well.
Friday, Feb. 25, 2005

How the Bush Administration Is Flouting the Current Special Counsel Regulations,
And Why the Independent Counsel Law May Not Have Been Such a Bad Idea After All

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean questions why the Justice Department is not complying with its own regulations with respect to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald -- who runs the investigation into the apparently politically-motivated leak, by two senior Bush Administration officials, of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Looking back on the history of the now-defunct Independent Counsel statute, Dean questions whether special counsels can avoid conflicts of interest as readily as independent counsels can.
Friday, Feb. 11, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist's Annual Report on the Federal Judiciary:
A Clear Example of What Distinguishes A Radical From A Reactionary Conservative

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses Chief Justice Rehnquist's report on the federal judiciary -- explaining how it sends a message to Congress to refrain from either impeaching federal judges for political reasons, or taking away federal courts' jurisdiction for political reasons. Dean contends that the report illustrates the difference between "reactionary" conservatives like Rehnquist, and "radical" conservatives like the members of Congress who are considering these options.
Friday, Jan. 28, 2005

The Torture Memo By Judge Jay S. Bybee That Haunted Alberto Gonzales's Confirmation Hearings
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the recent repudiation by the Bush Administration -- including by incoming Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- of the August 2002 memo on torture by then-Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee. Dean argues that Bybee's stance in the memo not only was plainly contrary to law, but could actually itself be evidence of a war crime: a common plan to evade the law. Dean also questions Bybee's fitness to serve on the federal bench, now that the memo (not available at the time of Bybee's confirmation hearing) has come to light.
Friday, Jan. 14, 2005

Jim Haynes As a Stalking Horse In Torturegate:
Why President Bush Renominated Him for A Federal Appellate Judgeship

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues that President Bush is employing the Nixonian strategy of "pricking the boil" by renominating William J. "Jim" Haynes, currently the general counsel of the Department of Defense, to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals. (In his first term, Bush had nominated Haynes to the same position, unsuccessfully.) As Dean explains, Haynes was involved in many of the memoranda that counseled that the President need not comply with international conventions, or federal statutes, as to torture -- and those memoranda, of course, have caused a scandal. Dean contends that Bush may hope to defuse that scandal by putting the ugly issue to rest in the debates over Haynes's nomination -- as well as that of Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales.
Friday, Dec. 31, 2004

What Is Conservatism?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean asks this provocative question: What, if anything, do all the varieties of conservatism -- from economic, to religious, to social, to libertarian, to neo-, to traditional, to paleo- -- have in common? Dean contends that it is hard to find the core of conservativism -- except insofar as it consists of antipathy to liberalism.
Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

A Closer Look At The Red/Blue Cultural Divide:
It Is Mostly Hokum

Is our country truly and deeply divided? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues: Not as much as pundits and partisans would have you believe. Dean evaluates a number of high-profile books making the case for -- and against -- a red-states-versus-blue-states nation, and finds the case against division accords far better with the hard data about Americans' opinions and affiliations.
Friday, Dec. 03, 2004

Does Bush Now Have Political Capital to Spend?
A Look at the Historical Record Suggests the Answer Is No

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean takes issue with President Bush's claim that his reelection has given him political capital that he now intends to spend -- on reforming Social Security, among other issues, and apparently also on nominating conservative federal judges. Dean argues that viewed in the context of election history -- especially where incumbents were running -- Bush's 2004 showing at the polls was weak. He also points out that the President's position with respect to his judicial nominees has not improved -- for the GOP lacks the 60 votes necessary to override the Democrats' filibuster, and ensure a given nominee's confirmation.
Friday, Nov. 19, 2004

Understanding the 2004 Presidential Election:
Beyond the Polarized Electorate, And The Republicans' Superior Voter Turnout

As Americans are still mulling the close presidential election, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses explanations for the country's sharp division, beyond the ones that are usually offered. Drawing on a recent University of Maryland empirical study, Dean contends that the difference between Bush and Kerry supporters is more than a culture clash: In specific ways, he notes, the two groups actually occupy separate realities, grounded on separate, and different sets of beliefs.
Friday, Nov. 05, 2004

The Coming Post-Election Chaos:
A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the litigation that is likely to accompany the upcoming November 2 election -- especially if vote totals are very close. Dean considers Republicans' and Democrats' strategies, and concludes that litigation is inevitable. He also identifies the true swing states where litigation is likely to happen, and predicts that voter and vote disqualification are likely to be at issue in some of the suits.
Friday, Oct. 22, 2004

The Pernicious "Natural Born" Clause of the Constitution:
Why Immigrants Like Governors Schwarzenegger and Granholm Ought to be Able to Become Presidents

With recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings targeting the Constitution's "natural born" clause, which restricts who can become President, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean argues it is high time to amend the Constitution to get rid of the clause. Dean describes the clause's history, and argues that it is not only obsolescent, but offensive, in the context of a modern America built by, and filled with, immigrants. Dean also describes the problems caused by the intersection of the "natural born" clause and the succession statute that determines who can be an acting president -- and notes that allowing "naturalized" citizens like Madeline Albright to become President would moot these problems.
Friday, Oct. 08, 2004

A Crucial But Largely Ignored 2004 Campaign Issue:
The Next President Is Likely to Appoint At Least Three Supreme Court Justices

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses an election issue that, he argues, ought to receive far more attention: the chance that next Term, the President may be able to nominate several new Supreme Court Justices. Dean explains he he believes there will be Court vacancies, and considers why this issue hasn't become prominent in current election politics.
Friday, Sep. 24, 2004

Osama's Dream Team: Kerry-Edwards or Bush-Cheney?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean asks a provocative question: Is Dick Cheney really right that electing John Kerry President would raise the risk of a terrorist attack against America? Dean takes issue with Cheney's logic -- and contends that it is actually the Bush Administration that is raising the risk of an attack, by providing Al Qaeda with exactly the kind of extreme responses that it is its goal to elicit.
Friday, Sep. 10, 2004

The New Book Attacking Kerry's War Record:
How It Defames the Candidate, and Why He Should Sue

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean gives some strong advice to John Kerry: Follow then-Presidential candidate and Senator Barry Goldwater's precedent, and sue for defamation to clear your name. Dean assesses a new Swift Boat veterans' book that accuses Kerry of numerous crimes, and finds copious evidence of "actual malice" -- the legal standard for a libel claim by a public figure to succeed -- within. He also discusses Goldwater's suit and why it succeeded -- with a jury verdict affirmed on appeal.
Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2004

Thoughts on the Law Addressing Bad Federal Judges:
Self-Policing Isn't Working, But Is There a Good Alternative?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses an interesting recent move by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Rehnquist has asked Justice Stephen Breyer, along with others, to inquire into the efficacy of the the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 -- the federal statute that governs how complaints against federal judges are addressed. Dean explains why the statute is thought to currently be less than effective, and argues that an improved version of the statute is necessary to impose some constraints on judges who, according to the Constitution's standard, are extremely difficult to impeach.
Friday, Aug. 13, 2004

A Closer Look At The 9/11 Commission Report:
The Role It is Playing In Election Politics, And Its Recommendations For Preventing Future Terrorism

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John W. Dean discusses the main points that, in his view, we should take away from the recent 9/11 Commission Report. Dean stresses the importance of the Report's recommendation of governmental structural changes -- and makes an intriguing suggestion about how this change could be accomplished in a way that minimizes political clashes. Dean also notes the role that the Report is already playing, and will likely continue to play, with respect to the upcoming elections.
Friday, Jul. 30, 2004

What Happens In The Event Of A Terror Attack On The 2004 Presidential Elections?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean surveys the legal landscape to explain -- considering various hypotheticals -- what would happen if there were a terror attack sometime between now and the next Inauguration Day. Given that terrorists reportedly are planning to seek to disrupt the elections, Dean chastises Congress and the Bush Administration for inadequate contingency planning to take account of the very scenarios about which there is the greatest worry.
Monday, Jul. 19, 2004

The Supreme Court's Ruling on Cheney's Energy Task Force:
Still Secret, But More Litigation Will Follow

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean discusses the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the case involving Vice President Dick Cheney. Dean explains what is at stake in the case: the specific issue of whether Public Citizen and Judicial Watch will get answers to their document requests and interrogatories relating to Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group, and the broader question of to what extent the Executive Branch can assert the privilege to keep its doings secret. Dean also explains how the results of November's election may influence this case, which will continue on in the lower federal courts, and may return to the Supreme Court.
Friday, Jul. 02, 2004

Sam Dash's Warning About Government Intruders:
The Story Of The Rise And Fall Of Fourth Amendment Protections

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean answers an intriguing question: What would former (and now late) Chief Counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee Sam Dash have thought of today's USA Patriot Act? In providing an answer, Dean draws both on Dash's recent book and his own personal conversations with Dash. In addition to addressing the Patriot Act specifically, Dean also discusses Dash's views on the long history of the Fourth Amendment and similar legal privacy protections.
Friday, Jun. 18, 2004

The Serious Implications Of President Bush's Hiring A Personal Outside Counsel For The Valerie Plame Investigation
Recently, President Bush reportedly spoke with a private attorney about a matter related to the leak of the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador and Bush critic Joseph Wilson. Why might the President have felt the need to consult a private lawyer? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John W. Dean comments on the possibilities -- and explains federal appellate precedents that likely would make the President wary of consulting a government lawyer about this issue.
Friday, Jun. 04, 2004

Predicting Presidential Performance:
Is George W. Bush An Active/Negative President Like Nixon, LBJ, Hoover and Wilson?

According to political scientist James David Barber, there are four basic types of presidents. Which type is George W. Bush? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean applies Barber's criteria and concludes that Bush is an active/negative president -- which, Dean contends, bodes ill for a Bush second Term.
Friday, May. 21, 2004

The Admirable Openness of the 9/11 Commission:
Why Charges It Is Overly Politicized Are In Error

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean takes on charges that the 9/11 Commission's proceedings have been partisan. For example, he argues that charges that Commission member Jamie Gorelick had a conflict of interest are meritless. Dean offers specific rebuttals to particular charges of partisanship -- and notes that Commission Head Tom Kean is no partisan.
Friday, May. 07, 2004

A Controversial Choice for the Position of Archivist of the United States:
Part of the Bush Administration's Secrecy Strategy?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean traces President Bush's actions with respect to the secrecy of his official papers from his Texas Governorship, to the present. Dean chronicles legal tactics Bush has used to try to keep these papers secret, and argues that his recent decision to nominate a new national archivist is in keeping with what Dean contends is a secrecy strategy by the President.
Friday, Apr. 23, 2004

Bush's Attack On Richard Clarke and His Laudable New Book:
The Press and the Government Collaborate to Violate Journalistic Ethics, But Their Gambit Backfires

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses Richard Clarke's recent book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War On Terror, and the backlash it has triggered. Dean criticizes Fox News for releasing an off-the-record backgrounder done by Clarke, and criticizes, as well, those who have suggested that the book and the backgrounder conflict; in fact, Dean argues, the two are entirely consistent.
Monday, Apr. 05, 2004

A Closer Look At The Case From Which Justice Scalia Has Refused To Recuse Himself:
The Momentous Stakes, and the Larger Political Context

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean offers a new take on the controversy over Justice Antonin Scalia's refusal to recuse himself from a case involving his fellow duck hunter and dinner companion, Vice President Dick Cheney. Dean focus not on the recusal issue itself but on the underlying case, asking: Why does Scalia want to vote on this case, in particular? And with Scalia's vote, what is the outcome at the Court likely to be?
Friday, Mar. 26, 2004

Defaming The Dead:
A Legal Remedy for Absurd Charges That LBJ Murdered JFK

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean criticizes the common law rule that defamation suits may not be brought on behalf of dead persons whose reputations have been attacked. Dean also suggests, however, that other legal avenues may be open for those who seek to mend such reputational damage. Dean takes as a case in point the explosive, and dubious charge that LBJ was involved in a conspiracy to murder JFK. If this charge is false, is there a remedy for the harm it has caused to LBJ's widow Lady Bird, his daughters, and to his lasting reputation? Dean explains what the legal options are.
Friday, Mar. 12, 2004

How Do Washington SuperLawyers Work?
The Inside Scoop, As Revealed By David McKean's New Biography Of Tommy Corcoran

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the fascinating character of the Washington "SuperLawyer," as exemplified by FDR-administration player Tommy Corcoran. Relying on David McKean's recently-released biography of Corcoran -- as well as McKean's earlier book on Clark Clifford -- Dean draws a portrait of the Washington SuperLawyer as powerful, influential and at times, corrupt.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004

President Bush's New Iraq Commission Won't Be Investigating the Key WMD Issue:
How the Executive Order Fatally Limits Their Agenda

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean takes a close look both at President Bush's announcement of a new Commission relating to intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the Executive Order setting the Commission's agenda. Dean contends that the Order inappropriately limits the Commission's agenda, with the result that the Commission it will never address the question on most voters' minds -- whether WMD evidence was distorted or exaggerated by the Bush Administration. He also compares and contrasts the Commission with other similar bodies Presidents have created over our history.
Friday, Feb. 13, 2004

A Must Read Book That Explains Rubinomics, and Much More:
Robert Rubin and Jacob Weisberg's In An Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington

FindLaw book reviewer and former counsel to the President John Dean makes the case that Robert Rubin's new memoir (written with Jacob Weisberg) of his Clinton Administration days is not only excellent, but a true must read. Dean contends that the book persuasively establishes the virtues not only of Rubin's economic judgment, but also of President Clinton's. He also argues that President Bush's economic decisionmaking compares unfavorably to that of both Rubin and Clinton.
Friday, Feb. 06, 2004

The Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson's Identity:
Why Competing Congressional and Special Counsel Investigations Will Inevitably Cause Problems

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that there will eventually be a clash between the Special Counsel and Congressional investigations of the leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. To prove his point, Dean draws upon historic examples from two scandals: Abscam and Iran-Contra.
Friday, Jan. 30, 2004

The U.S. Supreme Court and The Imperial Presidency
How President Bush Is Testing the Limits of His Presidential Powers

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses five cases before the Supreme Court that will test the reach of Executive power; at least four are likely to be decided this Term, and thus to play a role in 2004 election politics. Dean surveys the various issues the cases raise -- most of them related to the "war on terror." He also makes a provocative comparison between President Nixon's, and President Bush's, respective tendencies to test the bounds of Executive power at the Supreme Court.
Friday, Jan. 16, 2004

Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson Leak Investigation?
Signs that a Key Witness May Have Come Forward

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses a Washington, D.C. investigation that, as he notes, has lately been heating up -- with the possibility of grand jury proceedings to come. The investigation probes the sources of the leak, by two senior Administration officials to columnist Robert Novak, of Valerie Plame Wilson's status as a covert CIA agent. Dean contends that the progress of the investigation -- including Attorney General Ashcroft's decision to recuse himself -- strongly suggests that at least one key witness has already come forward to cooperate with the government.
Tuesday, Jan. 06, 2004

The Ominous Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Why Senators Daschle and Byrd Were Right to Decry The Lowdown, Dirty Tactics That Led to It

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean discusses the strange process that led to the currently pending omnibus appropriations bill. Dean raises a number of critique of Congress's procedures with respect to the bill, and argues that it should ultimately be carefully considered before being voted upon, and should not pass by "unanimous consent."
Friday, Dec. 19, 2003

Making War Unnecessary
An Interview with Dr. David Hamburg

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean interviews Dr. David Hamburg, author of the book No More Killing Fields; president emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation; and eminent expert on conflict resolution. Dean and Hamburg discuss alternatives to wars, ways of preventing deadly conflicts, including diplomatic means, and the role of democracy in conflict resolution.
Friday, Dec. 05, 2003

An Early Assessment by Leading Presidential Scholars of George W. Bush's Presidency
Part Two

In Part Two of a two-part series of columns, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses additional points raised by a recent book of essays that consider the current Bush Presidency from a number of different vantage points. Among the topics considered are President Bush's relationship to the press and to the public, his legislative strategy, and his standing in opinion polls.
Friday, Nov. 21, 2003

An Early Assessment By Leading Presidential Scholars
of George W. Bush's Presidency: Part One

In Part One of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean discusses a recent book compiling a set of essays that resulted from a conference held at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson school. The essays consider the current Bush Presidency from a number of differnet vantage points, and often find it wanting -- though they also disprove some oft-voiced criticisms of the President.
Friday, Nov. 07, 2003

Has George W. Bush Met His Own Ken Starr?
Presidential Lies, Those Who Expose Them, and How We Ought to Judge Among Them

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the history of Presidential lies, past and present, and argues that not only has our current President been lying, but his lies are very serious indeed. To make his case, Dean draws on two important sources -- Nation editor David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception and James Pfiffner's essay on Presidential lying for The Presidential Studies Quarterly.
Friday, Oct. 24, 2003

A Further Look At The Criminal ChargesThat May Arise From the Plame Scandal, In Which a CIA Agent's Cover Was Blown
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean follows up on his earlier column relating to the disclosure -- apparently by two senior Bush Administration officials -- of Valerie Plame Wilson' s status as a covert CIA operative. Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who told the truth about the bogus claim relating to Saddam Hussein and Niger uranium. Dean previously argued that the disclosure itself could be criminal; now he argues, in addition, that exploiting the disclosure, as some Bush Administration officials allegedly have done, may also be a crime.
Friday, Oct. 10, 2003

Bush's Unofficial Official Secrets Act:
How the Justice Department Has Pushed to Criminalize The Disclosure of Non-Security Related Government Information

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that a recent Atlanta federal prosecution is evidence of a troubling recent Department of Justice strategy of criminalizing leaks of government information to the news media. Dean contends that since Congress has, over the years, declined to pass an Official Secrets Act, such prosecutions -- which have serious free speech costs -- should not be occurring. Drawing on both history and law, he argues that the laws invoked to support the recent indictment are being misapplied.
Friday, Sep. 26, 2003

Grassroots Opposition to Rights-Infringing Antiterrorism Tactics
Why the ACLU's Model Resolution Is Dangerous and Should Be Revised

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean applauds local efforts to protect the Bill of Rights even during the war on terrorism -- including city council resolutions to this effect. But he warns, as well, that unless such resolutions are carefully framed, they may pose serious risks of prosecution for the city council members who enact them, and the police who follow them, for they may count as obstruction of justice. Dean takes issue with the ACLU's model resolution for this reason.
Friday, Sep. 12, 2003

GAO's Final Energy Task Force Report Reveals that the Vice President Made A False Statement to Congress
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean carefully analyzes the General Accounting Office's recent report, "Energy Task Force: Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy." Despite the report's dry title and tone, Dean contends, it contains bombshells -- such as evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney made a false statement to Congress concerning the White House's production of Energy Task Force-related documents to GAO.
Friday, Aug. 29, 2003

The Bush Administration Adopts a Worse-than-Nixonian Tactic:
The Deadly Serious Crime Of Naming CIA Operatives

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses legal aspects of the recent controversy about the disclosure -- apparently by two senior Administration officials -- of Valerie Plame Wilson' s status as a covert CIA operative.  Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who told the truth about the bogus claim relating to Saddam Hussein and Niger uranium.  Dean argues that the disclosures are likely criminal, pursuant to several federal statutes.
Friday, Aug. 15, 2003

The 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions About The White House Statements On Intelligence
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the recently released Report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry Into The Terrorist Attacks Of September 11.  Dean argues -- drawing on statements made by Condoleezza Rice -- that the report supports one of two disturbing conclusions.  One is that the White House, despite its denials, knew terrorists might fly airplanes into skyscrapers. The other is that the CIA possessed this information, but failed to give it to the White House.  Dean suggests the fault is more likely to lie with the White House, than the CIA.
Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2003

A Timely Account of the Key Supreme Court Military Tribunals Precedent: A Review of Louis Fisher's Nazi Saboteurs on Trial
FindLaw columnist, FindLaw book reviewer, and former counsel to the President John Dean assesses prolific author Louis Fisher's most recent work, Nazi Saboteurs on Trial.   The book details the history behind Ex Parte Quirin, the key Supreme Court precedent upon which the Bush Administration has relied for the authority to convene military tribunals in the war on terrorism.  Dean explains why the book's lessons suggest Quirin may not be the type of precedent the Court ought to follow.
Friday, Jul. 25, 2003

Why A Special Prosecutor's Investigation Is Needed To Sort Out the Niger Uranium And Related WMDs Mess
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean calls on President Bush to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the apparent falsity of eight statements in the President's January 28 State of the Union address.  The statements relate to the case for war against Saddam Hussein, and in particular, to Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction.  Dean analyzes each statement and, insofar as documents have been declassified or otherwise made public, examines the basis for its inclusion in the State of the Union.
Friday, Jul. 18, 2003

Defamation Immunity On The Internet:
An Evolving Body Of Law Has Been Stretched Beyond Its Limits

FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President John Dean discusses an important recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit relating to liability, and immunity, for defamation on the Internet.  Dean argues that the majority was wrong to interpret a federal statute to grant immunity to a defendant who published in his Internet newsletter an allegedly defamatory email that the author had not asked him to publish.  Dean also outlines the possible larger implications of the trend into which this decision fits.
Friday, Jul. 04, 2003

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales's Texas Execution Memos:
How They Reflect on the President, And May Affect Gonzales's Supreme Court Chances

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean discusses the possible repercussions of a forthcoming Atlantic Monthly story by Alan Berlow, reviewing death penalty memos that now-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales wrote to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.  Dean notes both deficiencies in the memos, and a conflict between the memos and Bush's own account of how he made clemency decisions.
Friday, Jun. 20, 2003

Missing Weapons Of Mass Destruction:
Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the possible repercussions if it continues to be the case that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are not found in Iraq, and if it is proven that the President misrepresented the true state of intelligence with respect to WMD.  If this were indeed shown, Dean suggests, the scandal could be as serious as Watergate.
Friday, Jun. 06, 2003

The Ongoing Controversy Over Judicial Nominees What Will It Mean if the GOP "Goes Nuclear" On The Filibuster Rules?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean makes the famously complicated Senate filibuster rules clear -- just as Senate Republicans are threatening to "go nuclear" to change the way they are interpreted.  Dean cogently explains the cloture vote, the possible role of Vice President Dick Cheney, and the huge stakes: the heart and soul of the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.
Friday, May. 23, 2003

The Recently-Released McCarthy Secret Hearing Transcripts:
Invaluable in Light of Charges of a "New McCarthyism"

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the recently-released transcripts of Senator Joseph McCarthy's secret hearings. There, McCarthy interrogated purported Communists, and sent on only those who seemed to him weak to testify at public hearings.  Dean takes on questions such as: What does McCarthyism mean in light of this history?  And what are those who believe we are in an era of a "New McCarthyism" arguing?
Friday, May. 09, 2003

Reviving The Creative Works Tax Deduction:
Why the CARE Act, Pending In Congress, Should Be Made Law

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses a bill that has passed the Senate, and is now being considered in the House, relating to the tax deduction for donation of creative works.  Dean explains the history of the deduction and the reasons for its virtual elimination, and argues that it's a good idea to revive it, in a modified form, now.
Friday, Apr. 25, 2003

Nation Building In Iraq:
Future Plans And Problems For the Postwar Period

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean describes the three phases of future nation building in Iraq, according to the Administration's plan: stabilization, transition to democracy, and transformation into a constitutional regime. Dean also outlines some potential problems if, as looks likely, the U.S. and Britain go it alone, without United Nations help.
Friday, Apr. 11, 2003

Supreme Command:
Who Should Be In Charge Of Operation Iraqi Freedom?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses an important question about the President's role as Commander-in-Chief: How much should a President directly oversee himself, and how much should he delegate to generals? Drawing on Eliot Cohen's book Supreme Command, Dean discusses the attributes of supreme command and the way historical figures have exercised it, and assesses whether President Bush's command style measures up.
Friday, Mar. 28, 2003

The Best Book On the Presidency:
Comments on a Classic That Is Particularly Trenchant In Times Of War

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the president John Dean answers this question: If you had to recommend a single book about the presidency to President George W. Bush, what would it be? Dean's choice is especially relevant for wartime presidents.
Friday, Mar. 14, 2003

Is It Time To Consider Mandatory Voting Laws?
Worsening Voting Statistics Make A Strong Case

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses one possible response to low (and declining) U.S. voter turnout rates: mandatory voting laws. Dean contends such laws would be entirely constitutional, and draws on Australia's experience to showcase their potential benefits.
Friday, Feb. 28, 2003

The General Accounting Office Drops Its Suit Against Vice President Cheney:
Given This Development, What's Next?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the probable reasons behind the General Accounting Office's recent decision not to appeal an adverse district court decision. The decision dismissed GAO's suit against Vice President Cheney. The suit had sought documents relating to meetings of Cheney's energy task force -- which some observers had hoped might shed light on Enron's contacts with the government.
Friday, Feb. 14, 2003

Why Former Congressman Gary Condit Should Persevere in His Defamation Suit Against Author Dominick Dunne
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that former Congressman Gary Condit will have more than a fighting chance at winning if he pursues the defamation suit he has filed against author Dominick Dunne. In particular, Dean notes that though the intent standard of "actual malice" is difficult to prove, there are a number of court-approved ways to satisfy it, and Condit may be able to take advantage of several of them.
Friday, Jan. 31, 2003

THE VOLCKER REPORT, AND HOW IT IGNORES THE REAL PROBLEM WITH ATTEMPTS TO REVITALIZE GOVERNMENT
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the recent report by the National Commission on The Public Service, chaired by former Federal Reserve head Paul Volcker, entitled "Urgent Business For America: Revitalizing the Federal Government for the 21st Century." Dean draws upon our government's structure and history in explaining why reform efforts, such as those urged by the report, rarely succeed except in times of emergency.
Friday, Jan. 17, 2003

CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST'S 2002 ANNUAL REPORT ON THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY, AND WHY REPUBLICANS ARE LIKELY TO READ BETWEEN ITS LINES
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses Chief Justice Rehnquist's decision, this year, to couple the issuance of his annual report on the federal judiciary with a personal visit to the White House. The Chief Justice has made no secret of his top priority in the report -- to raise judicial salaries -- but how was he able to persuade the President to go along? Dean offers insight into the question.
Friday, Jan. 03, 2003

CAN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SUE VICE-PRESIDENT CHENEY FOR POSSIBLY ENRON-RELATED DOCUMENTS?
NOT ACCORDING TO FEDERAL JUDGE BATES -- SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR GAO?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the recent ruling in the GAO v. Cheney suit -- in which the judge dismissed the case on the ground that the GAO lacks standing to sue. The ruling is significant not only because the GAO was seeking documents that might relate to the Enron scandal, but also, more broadly, because the GAO was suing on Congress's behalf and the suit thus tests the extent of Congress's power.
Friday, Dec. 20, 2002

AN EXTREMELY RARE CRIMINAL LIBEL CASE, CURRENTLY PROCEEDING IN KANSAS, RAISES THE QUESTION WHETHER LIBEL SHOULD EVER BE PROSECUTED
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean comments on a recent Kansas case in which -- for the first time since 1974 -- a news organization's publisher and editor were prosecuted for and convicted of criminal defamation. Dean explains why Kansas' prosecution may well be constitutional under prior U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and argues there is a good reason to have criminal defamation statutes, as well as civil causes of action for defamation.
Friday, Dec. 06, 2002

HAS CRIME NOVELIST PATRICIA CORNWELL IDENTIFIED JACK THE RIPPER?
OR DEFAMED A DEAD ARTIST?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses an intriguing question: Can relatives sue for defamation of the deceased? The issue arises in the context of novelist Patricia Cornwell's new nonfiction book, Portrait of A Killer: Jack The Ripper Case Closed. There, Cornwell concludes that Nineteenth Century artist Walter Richard Sickert was one and the same as notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.
Friday, Nov. 22, 2002

DANGEROUS TIMES AHEAD AFTER ELECTION 2002:
DESPITE THE NATION'S DEEP DIVISIONS AND BUSH V. GORE, THE PRESIDENT PLANS ON FILLING THE COURTS WITH RIGHT WING JUDGES

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean takes strong issue with the contention that Tuesday's Republican Congressional election wins provide a mandate for the Administration. Citing poll evidence, Dean argues no such mandate exists -- and, thus, that it is especially objectionable for the Bush Administration to plan to try to confirm a hard-right set of federal judicial nominees.
Friday, Nov. 08, 2002

THE ONGOING FIGHT BETWEEN THE SUPREME COURT AND CONGRESS, AS ILLUSTRATED BY THE GAO/CHENEY SUIT:
PART TWO OF A SERIES ON SHRINKING CONGRESSIONAL POWERS

In Part Two of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the Rehnquist Court's ongoing history of limiting Congressional power. Dean focuses, in particular, on the case brought by the GAO against Vice President Cheney, to seek the release of documents relating to the National Energy Policy Development Group. The case is currently before a federal district judge, but is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court -- where Congress's (and the GAO's) powers will be tested once again.
Friday, Oct. 25, 2002   Updated Oct. 27

HOW THE WAR ON TERRORISM IS SHRINKING CONGRESSIONAL POWERS: PART ONE
In Part One of a two-part series, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean argues that Bush Administration policies are improperly constraining Congressional power. Dean identifies Vice President Cheney as the likely architect of these policies, and explains how Cheney's prior government experience, including in the Nixon administration and as an opponent of the Iran-Contra investigation, may be playing a role in his current thinking.
Friday, Oct. 11, 2002

THE TELLING TALE OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH AMENDMENT:
A SLEEPING AMENDMENT CONCERNING CONGRESSIONAL COMPENSATION IS LATER REVIVED

To anyone who doubts that a single concerned citizen can make a difference, FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean provides a compelling reply. Dean chronicles the story of the Twenty-seventh Amendment, which relates to Congressional compensation -- and of Gregory Watson, the young student who started a successful campaign to get it ratified over two hundred years after it had first been proposed.
Friday, Sep. 27, 2002

THE SEVENTEENTH AMENDMENT: SHOULD IT BE REPEALED?
WHY THE DIRECT ELECTION OF SENATORS MAY HAVE BEEN A SERIOUS MISTAKE, AND ONE THAT HELPS EXPLAIN THE SUPREME COURT'S STATES' RIGHTS VIEWS

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the Seventeenth Amendment, which provides for the direct election of Senators, who were previously elected by State legislatures. On first glance, the Amendment may seem to have effected a worthy change -- moving us closer to direct democracy. But Dean explains how it may actually have been harmful, and enacted at the behest of special interests, and why it perhaps should be repealed.
Friday, Sep. 13, 2002

PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND DESPITE CLAIMS TO THE CONTRARY, PRESIDENT BUSH NEEDS CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL BEFORE DECLARING WAR ON IRAQ
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean offers a clear, simple "Yes" answer to the question whether, according to the Constitution, President Bush needs Congress's approval before he goes to war with Iraq. Dean also explains the nuanced, complex historical, legal, and political circumstances that have led some Presidents to go to war despite the lack of such approval. He also discusses the reasoning that has led courts thus far to decline to intervene when unapproved Presidential warmaking has allegedly occurred.
Friday, Aug. 30, 2002

EVERYONE IS CLAMORING FOR QUICK ENRON PROSECUTIONS, BUT THEY WILL BE HARD CASES THAT SHOULD WAIT UNTIL AFTER THIS FALL'S ELECTION
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean explains why, after talking to a prominent white collar defense lawyer and former prosecutor, he believes Enron officials' prosecutions should wait until after this year's Congressional election. Dean notes several factors that will make the cases surprisingly hard to prosecute; explains the legal theory on which prosecutions might, however, still succeed; and contends that rushing to indict as a response to public clamor would be a serious mistake.
Friday, Aug. 16, 2002

WILL HILLARY AND BILL CLINTON BE REIMBURSED FOR LEGAL FEES RELATING TO KENNETH STARR'S WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION?
YES, UNLESS A PARTISAN POLITICAL DECISION INTERVENES

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean analyzes and applies the requirements the Clintons must fulfill to get the attorneys' fees they have sought for the Whitewater Independent Counsel investigation -- and concludes that they should be reimbursed. Dean also reviews prior instances in which reimbursement has been granted or withheld. In addition, he argues that if the Clintons are not reimbursed, it will only demonstrate that like the Independent Counsel statute as a whole, the statute's reimbursement provisions have been infected by partisan political maneuvering.
Friday, Aug. 02, 2002

PREDICTING PRESIDENTIAL SCANDALS:
LOOKING AT BUSH'S NEW VULNERABILITY

Will the Bush Presidency -- and the Cheney Vice-Presidency -- soon be mired in scandal? FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean thinks the odds are good. Dean supports his contention with an intriguing historical argument as to why and how the scandals that dog Presidencies occur. Dean goes all the way back to the Teapot Dome to prove his point, and then applies his theory to contemporary Presidencies such as Reagan's and Clinton's, as well as to the George W. Bush Presidency.
Friday, Jul. 19, 2002

THE WORLD COURT DISPUTE:
WHY THE ADMINISTRATION'S OBJECTIONS TO JOINING, AND ITS MOVES TO PROTECT U.S. PEACEKEEPING TROOPS, ARE ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean analyzes and endoreses the reason for the Bush administration's opposition to the U.S.'s joining the World Court, and its position that U.S. peacekeeping soldiers must receive immunity from World Court jurisdiction. Dean argues that the U.S.'s joining the World Court would violate the U.S. Constitution, and points out the respects in which the Court treaty does not honor constitutional rights. Dean also notes that the Court treaty's position that it binds even nonsignatories is quite dubious as a matter of international law.
Friday, Jul. 05, 2002

WHAT IF DEEP THROAT -- WOODWARD'S WATERGATE SOURCE -- WAS A LAWYER?
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean chronicles an important part of the reporting that went into his dossier on the identity of Deep Throat. (The dossier is to be released in full as an e-book on Salon.com today, for the thirtieth anniversary of the June 17, 1972 Watergate break-in.) Along the way, Dean addresses this intriguing question: If Deep Throat was a lawyer, as some of his references and vocabulary suggested might be possible, would his leaking information to Woodward and Bernstein have violated attorney-client privilege, or the ethics rule of the federal government or of the District of Columbia bar?
Monday, Jun. 17, 2002

PRESIDENTIAL POWERS IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY:
COULD TERRORISM RESULT IN A CONSTITUTIONAL DICTATOR?

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean puts President Bush's past and possible future exercises of presidential emergency powers in historical and legal context. Could Bush go further than Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR -- creating a "constitutional dictatorship" that could outlast any genuine state of emergency, and become self-perpetuating? Dean suggests how this possibility can be foreclosed.
Friday, Jun. 07, 2002

MORE THAN JUST HIS LOCATION REMAINS UNDISCLOSED:
WHY DICK CHENEY'S SECRECY SCHEME FOR PRE-9/11 INFORMATION MAKES NO SENSE

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean takes strong issue with President Bush and Vice President Cheney's policy of stressing secrecy, especially with respect to the issue of what the President knew, or did not know, about pre-9/11 threats of hijacking and suspicious flight school training. Dean notes that not only Democrats, but prominent Republicans too, have attacked the secrecy policy, and takes a look at post-Watergate history to argue that the President's powers vis-a-vis Congress are not, as defenders of the secrecy policy suggest, eroding.
Friday, May. 24, 2002

IGNORE NIXON AT YOUR PERIL:
AN OPEN LETTER TO BUSH ADVISOR KARL ROVE

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean offers an open letter to Bush Advisor Karl Rove, a presidential history buff who has urged President Bush to learn from the experiences of Johnson, Hoover, Wilson and Harding. While Nixon is not on the list, Dean contends he should be. Indeed, given recent events, Dean contends, the Bush Administration should be especially careful to avoid the Nixon Administration's mistakes, such as its excessive penchant for secrecy.
Friday, May. 10, 2002

WASHINGTON BUZZ ON HIGH COURT VACANCIES AND SELECTIONS:
ON DEEP BACKGROUND ONLY!

FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John W. Dean discusses Washington Supreme Court watchers' speculations as to who will be the next Supreme Court Justice, and Chief Justice. Dean offers predictions regarding Chief Justice Rehnquist, revisionism regarding Justice Clarence Thomas, pessimism regarding the chances of former Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales, and a few possible surprise candidates taken from Congress, not the judiciary.
Friday, Apr. 26, 2002

 Most Recent | Page 4 | Page 3 | Page 2 | Page 1  
---