Fox News' senior judicial analyst made some surprising remarks Saturday that may go against the grain at his conservative network.
In a interview with Ralph Nader on C-SPAN's Book TV to promote his book Lies the Government Told You, Judge Andrew Napolitano said that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should have been indicted for "torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant."
The judge believes that it is a fallacy to say that the US treats suspects as innocent until proven guilty. "The government acts as if a defendant is guilty merely on the basis of an accusation," said Napolitano.
Nader was curious about how this applied to the Bush administration. "What about the more serious violations of habeas corpus," wondered Nader. "You know after 9/11 Bush rounded up thousands of them, Americans, many of them Muslim Americans or Arabic Americans and they were thrown in jail without charges. They didn't have lawyers. Some of them were pretty mistreated in New York City. You know they were all released eventually."
"Well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you," answered Napolitano.
"So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal," he continued.
"What should be the sanctions [for Bush and Cheney]?" asked Nader.
"They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrant," said Napolitano.
"I'd like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you're under oath, lying is not a crime. At least not an indictable crime. It's a moral crime," he said.
This isn't the first time that Napolitano's comments have veered away from the standard talking points at Fox News. He has predicted that Arizona's controversial immigration law will be blocked by the court. Napolitano also said Arizona's governor would "bankrupt the Republican Party" fighting for the law.
The liberal blog Crooks and Liars has more details on the Nader/Napolitano inteview.
This video is from C-SPAN's Book TV, broadcast July 10, 2010.