There are two senators who’ve accused Justice Department attorneys who represented Guantanamo detainees of sympathizing with terrorists: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and, perhaps more disturbingly, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee who very nearly became a federal judge in the 1980s. Their logic is no different than presuming a lawyer who defends an accused rapist approves of rape.
“Do the senators suggest that the person be unrepresented?” wondered retired Navy Lt. Commander Charlie Swift, who helped defend Salim Hamdan alongside Neal Katyal, the deputy solicitor general whom Grassley and Sessions slimed. “Can they concede that a court in which they are unrepresented [fails to] meet that Common Article 3 standard?” Funny thing about that.
In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act. Among the provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 — specifically, Section 948k — is that detainees under the commissions are entitled to defense counsel. You’ll never guess which two senators voted for the Military Commissions Act, with its nefarious promises of detainee counsel: Chuck Grassley and Jeff Sessions.
“If they didn’t think attorneys should do this, or that such people are traitors for doing it, why did they establish the requirement?” said Swift, now a lawyer in private practice in Seattle. “I don’t understand. To me, it’s political cheap shots. It’s not the law.”
Another funny thing: This particularly sleazy argument has all played out before. In 2007, Cully Stimson, then the top Pentagon official for detainees (now with the conservative Heritage Foundation), said in an interview that he was eager to see law firms pay a price for choosing to represent Guantanamo detainees. “When corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks,” Stimson said. “And we want to watch that play out.” The Washington Post’s editorial page replied that it was “offensive” for Stimson to argue “that law firms are doing anything other than upholding the highest ethical traditions of the bar by taking on the most unpopular of defendants.”
And you know who agreed with the Post? No less a law-breaking, impunity-loving executive-power-drunk official than soon-to-be-disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. “Good lawyers representing the detainees is the best way to ensure that justice is done in these cases,” Gonzales told The New York Times. Even Alberto Gonzales thinks that Guantanamo detainees deserve good legal counsel!
Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this episode has fallen down the right-wing memory hole now that a Democrat is in office. “This entire attack is representative of the extraordinary double standard to which members of the Obama administration are held, as opposed to members of the Bush administration,” Swift observed, adding for good measure about his friend Katyal: “Neal is the modern-day John Adams, in fact. … Neal came in out of the highest of principles. He took the case even though he knew he might be attacked later for doing it. He argued it from the highest of principles, he conducted himself at every moment as the most principled attorney I’ve ever seen. And he won the case.”
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant
Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some