Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Gitmo Nine 

The Justice Department has now admitted that nine of President Obama's appointments previously represented or advocated for Gitmo detainees before United States courts. This has provoked the usual fake controversy about "conflicts" and the usual denials that any actual laws or ethical rules have been broken.

As if that were the issue.

Here are my questions: How is it that Barack Obama's inner circle even knew nine lawyers who represented Gitmo detainees? How lefty do you have to be to know all those guys? And then, why did he decide it was a good idea -- either politically or substantively -- to appoint a bunch of defense lawyers -- never mind terrorist defense lawyers -- to the Justice Department?

The fact of the Gitmo Nine is a lot more troubling than anything they might do.


By Anonymous tyree, at Tue Feb 23, 07:37:00 PM:

Is is all about protecting the terrorists from us, or protecting us from the terrorists?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 23, 07:43:00 PM:

I doubt you'd find a law firm in AmLaw 25 that isn't involved in representing Gitmo detainees in one fashion or another. Lawyers working on pro Bono--and high profile pro bono cases--is encouraged by BigLaw, and often was a major selling point to all those first tier law students it tried to woo in the heady days (pre 9/08) when we fought to get the best and the brightest to come on board so it's not unusual to find top litigator's with their fingerprints all over those briefs. It's not necessarily about being lefty, or defense lawyers, it was about lawyers "giving back." Of course, nowadays, it's about keeping busy:)  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Feb 23, 09:09:00 PM:

Probably true, although why big firms cannot better "give back" by writing briefs that support the position of the government in the war is beyond me.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Wed Feb 24, 04:22:00 AM:

If what anon 7:43 says is true, that only ratchets up the outrage - it's not just this administration, it's the whole damn legal profession which is trying to undermine the security of the country.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 24, 08:41:00 AM:

Probably true, although why big firms cannot better "give back" by writing briefs that support the position of the government in the war is beyond me.

Because believe it or not, some lawyers who bill by the hour believe in upholding the Constitution. I understand as a non-practicing lawyer you may find that incongrous.

It bears noting for those keeping score (and those oh so eager to throw the lawyers in with all that's wrong with your world) that the Supreme Court--and mostly under Chief Justice Roberts--has sided with the detainees in <a href="http://washingtonindependent.com/70556/gitmo-habeas-scoreboard> the majority of the cases heard. </a>

From striking down Bush's military tribunals to granting detainees' habeus corpus rights, the Governemnt has struck out 32 times in its 41 times at bat on constituional grounds. Ouch. I trust you baseball fans can do the math.

As for the U.S. attorneys representing the losing side, not to worry. The majority end up getting jobs at BigLaw where they don their pro bono hats to write briefs for detainee rights and sit at defense counsel's table when they argue their cases before the Supreme Court.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 24, 09:33:00 AM:

The cultural shift these days is dramatic, in support of the declared and actual enemies of the country. Is it that lawyers all want to emulate John Adams or are they all become Lynne Stewart?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 24, 09:39:00 AM:

And, to anon 8:41: what an irony that you justify ostensibly idealistic legal work for nihilistic irregular terror troops, brutal murderers of Americans in many cases, on the twin ideals of "hey, they're successful" and "when it's over, they'll all become money grubbers".

Rarely does one get such a succinct picture of the problems besetting the legal profession.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Feb 24, 05:36:00 PM:

"upholding the Constitution"


Tell me where in the Constitution foreign enemy combatants are entitled to American legal rights???

Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder are beginning to wish they never said anything bad about Gitmo....primarily because they never gave Bush credit for having thought the problem out and concluding it was the best solution...

which it is!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 24, 06:29:00 PM:

Tell me where in the Constitution foreign enemy combatants are entitled to American legal rights???

Here you go. I suggest you read the decision and maybe learn some thing today.

Cliff Note version: The Supreme Court rejected-for the third time-President Bush's policy of holding foreign prisoners under exclusive control of the military ruling that the "Constitution from the beginning enshrined the privilege of habeas corpus [the right to go before a judge] as one of the safeguards of liberty." Adding further that that right extends even to foreigners captured in the war on terrorism .

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Boumediene decision was handed down in in June 2008. If I remember correctly, Obama hadn't even been won the Democratic presidential nominee.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Feb 24, 11:40:00 PM:

Anon 6:29, you failed to answer my question.

The answer to "where in the Constitution are judicial rights guaranteed to foreign combatants" is NOWHERE!

Posting a copy of what many consider one of the worst decisions of the US Supreme court does little to "educate" me...or many others, for that matter.

Take a moment and read Scalia's dissent and review the case law that contibuted to the disastrous decision.

...and then tell me which scenario you would rather have in place to protect US citizens, espicially considering the massive recidivism that seems to aflict these poor lambs when they are sent back to their hovels in the Sudan and Yemen.

Obama didn't NEED to participate in 2008. The 5:4 decision split along Liberal/Conservative lines.

Were this a guaranteed constitutional right for foreign combatants, there would be no need for a jusicial review...and if one were done, it would have been unanimous.

As it was, Obama signed the Military Commissins ACt of 2009, which has since been amended by the Democrats in Congress, to expand the judicial rights of these BUMS well beyond that of any of our own Military.

If that is the Law, sir, then the Law is an ASS!!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 25, 12:32:00 PM:

It's not the law, it's lawyers (insert Shakespeare reference here). Lawyers have long since forgotten that merely practicing a skillful defense is not justification for having done something evil. These can and should be pilloried publicly for defending these people, and the legal profession can and should mount a moral defense of their work, or stand equally convicted in public opinion.

Pro bono work is done, by most people, as a public service but for lawyers it apparently counts more if you somehow can undermine the safety and security of the country. Defending Gitmo detainees is the highest such service calling for our nations attorneys, unless carrying messages and instructions can also be accomplished (a la Lynne Stewart). The very finest legal talent in the country is happy to commit endless hours to the defense of the soldiers of darkness, because...well...the finest legal talent in the country is morally bankrupt. Or, so Anon 8:41 would have us understand.

Anon 8:41 already explained that the legal profession cares about winning and making money. And, who can disagree with him?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 04, 11:45:00 AM:

This debate may have long since ended here but as a convenient bookmark to a good exposition of the best condemnation I've read of these lawyers actions, read Thomas Joscelyn on the subject.  

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