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Hamdan Navy lawyer denied promotion, will leave US military

[JURIST] The US Navy lawyer who successfully represented the plaintiff Guantanamo detainee in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [JURIST news archive] and took his case all the way to the US Supreme Court has been denied a promotion and will leave the military by spring, the Miami Herald reports. Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift [profile], who has worked in the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions [official website] since 2003, said he learned about two weeks after the Hamdan decision that he would not receive a promotion to commander. Because of the military's "up or out" promotion policy, Swift must retire, although he said he would continue to represent Salim Hamdan [Wikipedia profile], a Yemeni who worked as Osama bin Laden's driver, as a civilian attorney. Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, chief defense counsel in the Office of Military Commissions, praised Swift's work as "really extraordinary" and said that the timing of the promotion decision was "quite a coincidence."

In the Hamdan case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bush administration's military commissions [JURIST news archive] for terrorism suspects lacked proper legal authorization [opinion text] as initially constituted, forcing the White House to win congressional approval of new legislation [JURIST report] setting up the commissions and defining appropriate procedures. AP has more. The Miami Herald has additional coverage.

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