The coordinated attack by some in the Bush administration and some of its allies on pro bono lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees is beyond the pale. Charles D. Stimson, an official in the Defense Deparment and an attorney, argues that CEOs should withdraw their firm's legal business from law firms that are representing detainees. I don't use this blog to express political opinions, and the point here is non-partisan. It is an outrage for public officials of any party to use or threaten to use regulatory and purchasing power leverage to retailate against a lawyer for representing a party that is in active litigation adverse to the government.
There are so many things wrong with Stimson's position that it is hard to know where to begin. The most troubling is how deeply unpatriotic and unAmerican the sentiments Mr. Stimson expresses are. He rejects the fundamental values that make us American, including a presumption of innocence and the right to due process. While Mr. Stimson's statements are understandably politically embarrassing, the Justice Department's tepid distancing effort is equally troubling because it indicates a lack of full blooded commitment to the American conception of justice. Shame.