Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Detainees' lawyers reply to Liz Cheney's attacks

Two former Guantánamo detainee lawyers have published an article commenting on Liz Cheney's campaign against the Dept of Justice for employing other former detainee lawyers. The article is available here. In the article, the authors state, in part:

"Cheney . . . should know better. She is a law school graduate and former practicing attorney. Her video contradicts more than 200 years of legal tradition, whereby American attorneys have served as counsel for unpopular clients, often without fee, in order to ensure that our country remains a place where there is "justice for all" — even those deemed our enemies. . . . .

. . . She asks: "Whose values do they share?"

It is hard to imagine a more reckless charge. Well, on second thought, we can think of one. Her video is reminiscent of similar tactics used during one of the darker episodes in American history, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy charged that those who insisted on due process for anyone he accused must be a Communist sympathizer or a closet enemy of the U.S. . . . .We believe history will judge Cheney's behavior as the equivalent of McCarthy's.

Our constitutional system of government requires that we afford due process to defendants even in times of genuine threat to our nation and attacks on our people. The courts depend on the willingness of lawyers to represent those accused of crimes, although their clients may be feared or hated. . . .

The lawyers at the Department of Justice who appeared on behalf of Guantanamo prisoners deserve our admiration and respect, as our country tries to resolve the difficult issues of how we will dispense justice to those considered to be our enemies. They certainly do not deserve to be called "al-Qaida lawyers," be labeled disloyal and unpatriotic or be disqualified from government service."

And to that, I say, "well said!" For my previous posts on this subject go (in order) here, here, here, here, here and here.

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