« Home

First Thing We Do, Threaten All the Lawyers

One aspect of the Bush administration that we have become intimately familiar with, particularly in the last year or so, has been their disdain for following the rules. As Maureen Dowd pointed out in her column yesterday, Dubya's adolescent penchant for playing by his own rules has become a staple of how he has chosen to govern as president. If he can not strong arm others into accepting his rules, such as with the Military Commissions Act, he will just award himself a get out of jail free card in the form of a signing statement saying the rules don't apply to him.

But such methods can only work so far. Others methods of procuring the desired outcome must be utilized. Which is why I wasn't surprised when I heard about a Defense Department official attempting to shame the law firms and lawyers representing terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In his radio interview, Mr. Stimson said: "I think the news story that you’re really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA request through a major news organization, somebody asked, ‘Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there?’ and you know what, it’s shocking." The F.O.I.A. reference was to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Monica Crowley, a conservative syndicated talk show host, asking for the names of all the lawyers and law firms representing Guantanamo detainees in federal court cases.

Mr. Stimson, who is himself a lawyer, then went on to name more than a dozen of the firms listed on the 14-page report provided to Ms. Crowley, describing them as "the major law firms in this country." He said, "I think, quite honestly, 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. And we want to watch that play out."...

When asked in the radio interview who was paying for the legal representation, Mr. Stimson replied: "It’s not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that."

What I find "shocking" is that here we have a lawyer who insists on referring to those held at Gitmo as "terrorists" even though the vast majority of them haven't even been formally charged, much less tried and convicted, of any crime related to terrorism. But then I remind myself this is just another White House toady towing the administrational line. It is truly a sad reflection on how far our society has fallen that merely having representation can be viewed as suspect.

More on this from Carpetbagger, Libby Spencer, Matthew Rothschild, Jeff Huber, John Cole, Jeralyn, and MissLaura.

Links to this post

Create a Link