Chuck Grassley and Jeff Sessions have led the McCarthyite charge to slander those Justice Department attorneys who defended Guantanamo detainees. And yet, predictably, these shining specimens voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006. You know what one of the provisions of the Military Commissions Act was? The right to defense counsel. Shocked, I know you are. (Special guest appearance in this post by retired Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Swift, who defended Salim Hamdan.) Also, who said this: “Good lawyers representing the detainees is the best way to ensure that justice is done in these cases.” Yes, the terrorist sympathizer Alberto Gonzales.
Special jackass award goes to the Daily Caller‘s Meghan Clyne, for writing this, in the midst of smearing Neal Katyal’s former intern on the Hamdan case, who now works for the White House counsel’s office:
Others note that everyone — even an alleged terrorist — is entitled to a defense. One question often raised, however, is about the motives of private-sector attorneys who can choose their pro bono activities (or, in Kravis’s case, a law student trying to allocate out-of-class time) and decide to expend their efforts on behalf of enemy combatants.
Of course they’re working pro bono. What, they’re going to charge Guantanamo detainees or the government for standing up for the principle of universal access to legal defense? Cully Stimson, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, once intimated something nefarious about who was actually paying for this legal work:
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.
The quote Gonzales issued was in response to Stimson. Who resigned soon afterward.
Update: Adam Serwer with a serious get:
“I think it’s unfortunate that these individuals are being criticized for their past representation, it reflects the politicization and the polarization of terrorism issues,” Bellinger said. ““neither republicans nor democrats should be attacking officials in each other’s administration’s based solely on the clients they have represented in the past.”
“We’ve had a longstanding tradition in our country for lawyers to represent unpopular causes, and they shouldn’t be attacked for doing so,” Bellinger added.
That would be Condoleezza Rice’s legal counsel at State and NSC.