If you’re a law student, it’s quite a privilege to have the Attorney General of the United States come to speak at your school, in a room of perhaps fifty fellow students. It happened today for students at Georgetown Law School: Alberto Gonzales arrived and was talking about the justifications of the Bush administration to wiretap American citizens.

As he launched into his speech, the students rose from their seats and turned their backs on him. A few other students then trooped into the room carrying a banner with Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted saying:

Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

Following his (mercifully short) speech, there was a panel discussion where his arguments regarding Bush’s antics were shredded. David Cole, a Georgetown law professor, said:

When you’re a law student, they tell you that if you can’t argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you that if you can’t argue the facts, argue the law. If you can’t argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue… to say over and over again ‘it’s lawful’, and to think that the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough.

If I ever need a lawyer, I want someone who was in that room today.