Okay, so the Bush Administration began casting about for ways in which torture could be legally justified. That actually does not bother me — I can understand the mindset which states that it may be absolutely necessary that a handful of high-level Al Qaeda operatives be broken through torture. I don’t agree with it, but it’s something to be discussed.
Anyway, what amazes me is the breadth of the legal opinion. To wit:
To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a “presidential directive or other writing” that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is “inherent in the president.”
The President of the United States was advised that he is not bound by any laws, and neither is anyone who acts under his direct authority. This is beyond refuting the Constitution; we’ve actually taken aim at the Magna Carta.
Update: The first part of the memo in question can be found here.
The important quotes are on Page 24; essentially, the argument is that the President is not bound by any law whatsoever if he or she is seeking information pertinent to national security.