Goodbye to All That

Alas, my friends, the time has come. After nearly two years of tumult (broken occasionally by brief periods of boredom), Bench Conference will end today with this post.

It has been a fascinating experience, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity. As I mentioned in my very first post, when I was in college I corresponded briefly with Art Buchwald and told my mom that I would one day write for The Post. And I hope to do so again.

In the meantime, I want to thank so many of you -- even you, Constitutionalist, and especially you, Ex-AUSA! -- for taking the time to write such passionate and often elegant posts. I read as many as is humanly possible, honest I did, and what struck me most was how eager so many of you were to engage for so long with one another on points I had raised perhaps or less fully or artfully than you had hoped for. The energy and commitment so many of you showed on so many issues is truly the engine of the Internet and helps explain why it is the new medium for the new millennium.

I am most proud -- by that I mean I think we did our best work -- of this blog's coverage of the U.S. attorney scandal and the disastrous reign of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. You can find all those posts at this site, called Rough Justice. It has been nominated for several journalism awards, and if it happens to win, I hope you'll take some measure of credit for its success. (But don't ask me for a share of the prize money -- you know how cheap these award competitions for journalists can be.)

Unless you are a celebrity and can write down what you had for lunch and call it a blog, It is no easy thing to write a daily weblog. As columnist Jonathan Alter once said, to truly write a blog right would take a monumental amount of time. He was right. It took a ton of time just to post my decidedly imperfect entries here almost every day. And there were many days when I wished I had more time -- or simply more energy -- to post twice or to add to an existing post. I will try harder next time.

Now I'll focus on my CourtWatch columns for and my weekly horse racing column, which recently won a John Hervey Award. (I've also had some conversations with folks at other outlets about bringing the Bench over there. So I hope we'll be able to continue the conversation through another year, another presidency, another Supreme Court term, another O.J. trial.)

Thanks again for taking the time to read my stuff and for writing comments. Even when you disagreed with me -- even when you were nasty -- you were involving yourself in a process that can help change the way America chooses its leaders, its officials, its policies and its practices. And that's a good thing. Take care.

-- Andrew

By Andrew Cohen |  January 30, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Previous: Jose Padilla Finally Catches a Break |


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Ooh, sorry to see you go. I agree that your pieces on the US Attorney scandal were good, and very much needed. I'll check out your Court Watch columns in future.

Posted by: Redhand | January 30, 2008 07:16 AM


Take care. It was good to read your entries and you served your stated purpose well of bringing up salient topics for public discussion.

Posted by: | January 30, 2008 09:09 AM

Thanks, Andrew. This has been a great place to read about some of the legal issues in the news (and those that should have been in the news). Good luck in the future.

Posted by: Jake | January 30, 2008 09:11 AM

I really looked forward to your columns. So I am sorry to see you leaving the Washington Post and your column ending as well. I am not a lawyer. Still I felt your columns did spotlight any number of legal issues and irregularities -- esp. in the Bush adeministration -- that were important to see and about which to become better informed. I wish you well.

Posted by: Thomas | January 30, 2008 09:22 AM

I always enjoyed your insights. Thank you for the great work.

Posted by: Alisa | January 30, 2008 09:52 AM

Good Riddance. You very rarely got the facts right Cohen, and this column did basically nothing except slander people you knew absolutely nothing about, in situations where your nastiness always counted more than the facts. There was never an apology when you were wrong, dead wrong, and you are wrong more frequently than you are right.

You start with the facts, and you investigate the facts-then, you provide the opinion, anything other than that is just sloppy lawyering and agenda mongering.

Posted by: | January 30, 2008 10:05 AM

Andrew, whether I agreed or disagreed (it was mostly agree), I always enjoyed your column and your insights. I hope we see you soon in a similar forum!

Posted by: Larry L | January 30, 2008 10:53 AM

I was an itinerant reader, but so appreciated your analysis during the Alberto Gonzales/US Attorneys scandal. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

Posted by: Sean | January 30, 2008 11:33 AM

I'm sorry you're leaving, Mr. Cohen. I looked forward to your posts very much indeed! Good luck in the future.

Posted by: Dee | January 30, 2008 11:39 AM

I am sorry that you are leaving. I have read your blog daily for about a year, and really enjoyed reading your insights. Thanks for your contributions to putting sunlight into the Department of Justice for all of us to see. Good luck to you.

To those who now have a missing blog spot in your reading rounds, I recommend Scott Horton's at

Posted by: Kelly | January 30, 2008 11:54 AM

Take care, too, Andrew. Your (mostly) reasonable and always informative posts will be missed around here.

Hope to see you in some other venue soon.

Posted by: JUDGITO | January 30, 2008 01:04 PM

"Ack!", Bill the Cat

My sentiments also.

Thanks for the two years. This blog for the most part has been a good source of reasoned legal and political thought. The modicum of mudslinging kept it lively.

You,and Dan Eggen, especially deserve recognition for the job you did on the Attorney General Gonzalez story. The apologians for AG Gonzalez missed the most important aspect which should have disturbed them more than anything - the 'hijacking' of the Department of Justice by a small cadre of unskilled acolytes doing the dirty work of people who will go untouched.

What they missed is that, if the White House and AG Gonzalez were allowed to get away with it, then succeeding Attorneys General could do the same. Especially ones with whom these people disagree significantly. Maybe they are not as Libertarian as they like to tell themselves they are? - Good jobs, Andrew and Dan!

On the way out, how about making a pitch to the editors that they find a successor to you for this blog.

Andrew, best of luck; I'll look to 'see you on the radio.' Thanks!

Posted by: DC | January 30, 2008 01:21 PM

I'll miss you, Mr. Cohen. I'm neither an attorney nor a teacher but have a great interest in constitutional law. Your posts were always informative and highly readable. Best of luck in your new career.
Feel free to come back anytime.

Posted by: jfg | January 30, 2008 02:18 PM

I hope to see you in another format. You covered AG Gonzales well, and highlighted some of the "heroes" against the despicable Gitmo/secrecy cabal. Thanks, and best wishes.

Posted by: Lisa | January 30, 2008 05:48 PM

Well done Andrew. I know you will go on to great successes and I look forward to more of your insight into the muddled topics of the day.

Posted by: shaun | January 30, 2008 06:03 PM


You were the best of the Washington Post. Forget Arabian horse racing -- leave it to Brownie, he is doing a heckuva job. We need you at the Washington Post. You don't know how bad it is sometimes. I even had your column all set up in the RSS feeder.

You recently talked about how the Bushies would force law firms to abandon their client. That is indeed one of their practices and I have an extremely important story that I think you should hear, about how loyal Bushies used illegal and clandestine methods to intimidate and force numerous lawyers to abandon an American patriot. The abuses were far more grievous, extensive and extreme than the example you mentioned.

I said I would elaborate more and I will try to forward more details to you in the future. It is truly chilling how low our government was willing to go into the dark side just to protect unethical Bush cronies from business competition by smarter, more agile and ethical competitors. Domestic assassinations are not science fiction. In fact, it is a topic of Steven Bradbury's recent legal briefings.

Thank you also to all the posters, some of whom seemed as informed as real lawyers. If you follow my posts somewhere else, I will continue to shed light on these issues before the media reports on them.

How about continuing to post on an ad hoc basis? Thank you for single-handedly making the Washington Post worthwhile.

Recommended Reading:

Mel [dot] Carnahan (Alloneword--NoSpam!!) [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted by: Singing Senator | January 30, 2008 07:19 PM

I really enjoyed this web log and think there
is nothing quite like it in a general news publication. I will miss it.

Thank you and best wishes to you.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | January 31, 2008 09:51 AM

Happy Endings,

It was an enjoyable experience from the massage parlor in my cubicle.

Good Fortune

Posted by: D.integration | January 31, 2008 10:38 AM

You, Froomkin and Robinson are the only reasons I check out the WashPo. I'll miss your columns!

Posted by: Clay | January 31, 2008 10:42 AM

Good luck in your new work, Andrew. You did an outstanding job covering the Alberto Gonzales fiasco. Someone needs to be doing the same for Michael Mukasey, Gonzales' clone. Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Gardenia | January 31, 2008 10:53 AM

Best of luck always. I always enjoyed your work here at the WaPo. It made me a better-informed person, and of course your regulars commenters added a lot.

But you were the instigating force for sound thinking and reasoned debating.

I'll be spending less time at now

Thanks for all you've done.

Posted by: osmor | January 31, 2008 11:13 AM


Thank you for the forum. There were often well-reasoned and insightful posts following your columns. Of course there was a fair amount of tripe, but hey, you get the bad with the good in a public forum.

Constitutionalist: I'll miss the arguments (in the legal sense) we had. One's opinion needs to be tested to truly understand it. You tested me (and I hope vice-versa) plenty of times.

Bosley: Great stuff.

Posted by: Nellie | January 31, 2008 05:11 PM

Bugger all! I didn't read you as often as I do Froomkin, but you were my SECOND-favourite WaPo blogger. And it's the blogs that best represent the spirit of the Post I remember from my pre-Watergate youth. I learned a lot from you, and also your commenters, at least the sane ones. You helped fire up my sense of outrage, the same sense that made me move out of the country, and gave me more facts to back up my feeling that the U.S. is going down the fascist drainhole.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | February 1, 2008 06:43 AM

Best of everything in your future endeavors. I've enjoyed your blog, and like many others especially your detail and insights on Gonzo.

Posted by: Grace | February 1, 2008 05:32 PM

Thanks for your kind comment, Andrew. I too will miss the blog, and I congratulate you on a good run. Best of luck to you.

Posted by: ExAUSA | February 3, 2008 11:55 AM

Andrew Cohen leaving the Bench Conference is more than likely due to his having to go to the Al Qaeda training and propaganda center in the Pakistan tribal area to pick up his bin Laden award for having helped to promote their interests. Typical far left liberal though

Posted by: rook | February 4, 2008 12:40 AM

Tough luck for Cohen, Rookie -- the bin Laden award has already been given to George W. Bush, for making al Qaeda bigger than it ever was on Sept. 10, 2001.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | February 4, 2008 03:44 AM

Bukko in Australia
President George W. Bush has done a exellent job in his 7 years in office and will go down in history as one of our great presidents. You're a fool to believe that the terrorist war that we're in only started when he took offfice. It started more than 30 years ago when the Islamic terrorists declared a Jihad against all of the West and started to hijack our civilian aircraft and cruise ships, bomb Western targets and hundreds of other savage barbarian acts. Bush unlike the inept Bill Clinton administration didn't just turn the other cheek and fought back.

Posted by: rook | February 4, 2008 12:33 PM

Rook, wake up and smell the History. The terrorists were not in Iraq. But, "we've done a hell of a job rookie," in getting them established there.

Hit 'em where they ain't! - Wee Willie Keeler

Fight 'em where they ain't! - Dubbya

If you invade it, they will come! - Dick Cheney

Posted by: | February 4, 2008 01:03 PM

I'm sorry to see you go Andrew.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 4, 2008 06:51 PM

Oh no, oh nooooooo,

This column truly gave us insight from a judicial perspective. He was the Paul Krugman of the Washington Post. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Who will take his place? . . His words were so important.

Posted by: coldcomfort | April 5, 2008 03:36 PM

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