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One Senator Says 'Enough'

"And that message comes straight from the mouth of this President. 'Trust me.' . . .

"What is the basis for that trust?"

Ticking off examples of "an abandonment of the rule of law" -- including the politicization of the Justice Department and the rolling back of habeas corpus rights -- Dodd eventually came to the ultimate case study.

"I don't think you can hold the rule of law in any greater contempt than sanctioning torture," Dodd said. . . .

"Controlled death. Outsourced torture. Secret prisons. Month-long sleep deprivations. The president's personal power to hold whomever he likes for as long as he'd like. It is as if we woke up in the middle of some Kafka-esque nightmare.

"Have I gone wildly off-topic . . . ? Have I brought up a dozen unrelated issues?

"I wish I had. . . I wish that none of these stories were true.

"But, we are deceiving ourselves when we talk about the U.S. attorneys issue, the habeas issue, the torture issue, the rendition issue, or the secrecy issue as if each were an isolated case! As if each one were an accident! When we speak of them as isolated, we are keeping our politics cripplingly small; and as long as we keep this small, the rule of men is winning.

"There is only one issue here. Only one: the law issue.

"Does the president serve the law, or does the law serve the president? Each insult to our Constitution comes from the same source; each springs from the same mindset; and if we attack this contempt for the law at any point, we will wound it at all points.

"That is why I'm here today. . . . Immunity is a disgrace in itself, but it is far worse in what it represents. It tells us that some believe in the courts only so long as their verdict goes their way. That some only believe in the rule of law, so long as exceptions are made at their desire. It puts secrecy above sunshine and fiat above law."

Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald writes: "[I]f I had one wish this week, it would be that any journalist who will ever write or utter the words 'FISA,' 'telecom immunity' or 'Terrorism' would be forced to watch this speech from start to finish without distraction."

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