About 15 or 20 people gathered outside the James Browning Courthouse with signs and fliers to protest the appearance of Jay Bybee, a Bush Administration official who later became a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The protest was organized by several groups who are calling for the impeachment of Bybee because of his role in authorizing the use of torture by members of the CIA who were interrogating terrorism suspects.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility recently released a report on an Aug. 1, 2002, memo written by John Yoo and signed off by Bybee approving waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other torture techniques.
The report concluded that Bybee and Yoo “engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide ‘thorough, candid, and objective’ analysis in memoranda regarding the interrogation of detained terrorism suspects” but recommended against disciplinary action in the jurisdictions where the two men are licensed.
A response to the report submitted by Bybee’s legal counsel to the Office of Professional Responsibility argued that the judge “acted in good faith” and “should not be held accountable for the accuracy and completeness of every … argument” in the memo.
Bybee was confirmed as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge in 2003, and appeared on the bench today as the court heard cases.
Stephanie Tang, a spokeswoman for the group World Can’t Wait, said “for someone who was so instrumental in producing the torture policy under Bush and Cheney to get a lifetime appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court … that’s absolutely unethical, intolerable, immoral, and the public needs to be aware of that.”
The protest groups are calling on Bybee to be impeached because of his role in the torture memo.
“We’re not confident (it will happen) but we’re hopeful,” Cynthia Papermaster of the National Accountability Action Network said.