Monday, March 8, 2010

More debate as to the attacks on the Dept of Justice lawyers

A group of well-known conservative lawyers have signed on to a letter chiding Liz Cheney as well. The letter states, in part:

"The past several days have seen a shameful series of attacks on attorneys in the Department of Justice who, in previous legal practice, either represented Guantánamo detainees or advocated for changes to detention policy. As attorneys, former officials, and policy specialists who have worked on detention issues, we consider these attacks both unjust to the individuals in question and destructive of any attempt to build lasting mechanisms for counterterrorism adjudications. . . . . To suggest that the Justice Department should not employ talented lawyers who have advocated on behalf of detainees maligns the patriotism of people who have taken honorable positions on contested questions and demands a uniformity of background and view in government service from which no administration would benefit. Such attacks also undermine the Justice system more broadly. In terrorism detentions and trials alike, defense lawyers are playing, and will continue to play, a key role. "

The full letter is available here.

Meanwhile, the Blog of the Legal Times is reporting today that "[p]rominent former Department of Justice officials are joining the growing criticism against efforts to question the ethics and loyalty of current DOJ attorneys who, in private practice, had advocated for Guantanamo Bay detainees." Go here for the full story.

For more on this story (and other interesting links) to the Wall Street Journal law blog (March 5 and March 8 story, Politico, and another story in the Wall Street Journal law blog.

The New York Times also published an Op-ed piece (here) that begins thus: "In the McCarthy era, demagogues on the right smeared loyal Americans as disloyal and charged that the government was being undermined from within. In this era, demagogues on the right are smearing loyal Americans as disloyal and charging that the government is being undermined from within."

When you check out these stories don't forget to look at the comments readers have posted about them.

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