A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Bush administration bashes attorneys for defending Guantanamo detainees

David Cynamon [partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Project Kuwaiti Freedom]: "The Bush Administration has reached a new low in its contempt for the law as it applies to Guantanamo.

Yesterday, in an interview on Federal News Radio [link to interview], Cully Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Detainee Affairs, listed a number of the law firms, including ours, who are representing detainees, and then suggested that our corporate clients should boycott us for having the temerity to represent "terrorists." He also stated that he expected this to become a bigger news story; DoD obviously is working with friendly media representatives to push the issue.

Apparently, the Bush Administration has no good answers to the legal and moral travesties at Guantanamo, so they have decided to fall back on good old-fashioned lawyer bashing in a desperate effort to change the subject. It is bad enough that they have consistently flouted the Supreme Court's 2004 ruling that the detainees are entitled to habeas corpus. Now they are attempting to prevent the detainees from having legal counsel at all. It is truly incredible that Stimson, an attorney himself, does not appear to understand or care about the fundamental obligation of lawyers to represent unpopular and indigent clients.

We and the other habeas counsel are very proud of the work we are doing on behalf of the Guantanamo detainees, and we are confident that the vast majority of our corporate clients feel the same way. The true "news story" here is not that prominent law firms are trying to get the detainees a fair hearing but that the Bush Administration is trying to deny them one."

Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.

About Professional Commentary

Professional Commentary is JURIST's platform for newsmakers, activists and legal experts to comment on national and international legal developments.

Hotline welcomes submissions, inquiries and comments at professionalcommentary@jurist.org.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.