In the 1962 political thriller, the film 'The Manchurian Candidate', James Gregory gave a brilliant performance when he played the Senator and hate-monger John Yerkes Iselin, husband to the evil Angela Lansbury. I was watching and listening to it this morning in Los Angeles as I worked at my desk at home, and it really struck me how timely it is in regards to the political climate of the day. There is one scene where Senator Iselin's head appears on the TV as he is railing about the treason of his political opponents and threatening impeachment and trials. It struck me how much he looked and sounded like Bill O'Reilly of Fox News. Same condescending look, same frightening sound, same hysteria-driven message.
The following excerpts are from an interview with Vincent Bugliosi by Patt Morrison and appeared in the Los Angeles Times on August 8, 2009
"The Betrayal of America," attacking the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the disputed 2000 presidential election -- not at first blush a case for a criminal prosecutor. I'm not a political activist. But whenever something is so egregious, I jump in. Even many Republican scholars [said], "The court should be ashamed of itself; we've lost respect for the court." And I kept saying, "That's all? You lost respect?" These five [justices] are among the biggest criminals in American history. How dare these people have the audacity to do what they did? I think I made my case pretty well that these people deliberately tried to steal the election.
And now your latest book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," published in May, makes a murder case against Bush for waging war unnecessarily and shows how he could be prosecuted for it. Bush [told] unsuspecting Americans the exact opposite of what his own federal intelligence agencies told him. What could be more criminal than the Bush administration keeping the all-important conclusion from Congress and the American people, with the lives of millions in the balance?
Every day, I think of those people in their graves now -- no one is fighting for them. You can see that I'm upset. I don't like to see anyone get away with murder. O.J. Simpson got away with two, and I wrote the book "Outrage." If I can get that angry over one or two murders, you can imagine the way I feel about Bush.
Some people must have said, "Bugliosi's gone off the deep end on this one." Jerry Brown called me: "I understand you have a book out about Bush, about impeachment," and I said, "No, Jerry, it's about murder."
My first challenge was to see if a president taking the nation to war on a lie fell within the conventional principles of criminal law, and I've come up with very solid evidence that it does. There are many sophisticated issues, but here's the main issue. I've established jurisdiction, federal and local. If a prosecutor could prove that Bush took this nation to war under false pretenses, then these killings of American soldiers in Iraq would become unlawful and therefore murder.
Sonia Sotomayor is now a Justice of the Supreme Court. It was disheartening to see how she was vilified by the right for being, by all serious accounts, a center of the road and moderate jurist. When John Roberts deflected probing questions during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee he was praised for displaying a 'judicial temperament'; Sotomayor was criticized for being secretive and dismissive. What really got me, though, was the way they rolled out the fireman from New Haven, Ricci, like he was a smoking gun. First of all, no matter how you feel about the issue, the entire Supreme Court overruled by a scant 5-4 so there seems to be plenty of play in both the issues and the underpinning of the law.
What about the Chief Justice John Roberts, does he legislate from the bench, you bet he does. As Jeffery Toobin noted in the 'New Yorker', "After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."