Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions, settled a freedom of speech lawsuit [press release] on Tuesday against the Library of Congress after Davis was terminated from his position as assistant director of the Congressional Research Service due to his criticism of the Obama administration’s decision to resume use of the military commissions system. Davis was terminated after he wrote an op-ed letter to the editor in his capacity as a civilian, which was published by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. The case, Davis v. Billington [case materials] was filed in 2010 [complaint, PDF] in the District Court for the District of Columbia and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] and Goodwin Procter LLP [official website] represented Davis.
Davis has been a longtime critic of the national security policies of Presidents Obama and George W. Bush. In 2011 Davis wrote an opinion piece [JURIST op-ed] claiming that the CIA’s killing of Anwar al-Awlaki violated the law of war. Davis drew attention to the alleged iniquities of the military commissions system in 2007, when he penned a noted op-ed [text] for the New York Times about his experience as chief prosecutor. Later that year Davis publicly said that he was pressured to use classified evidence against defendants while serving as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo and that such trials were become overly politicized [JURIST reports]. He further claimed that the push to use classified evidence stemmed from certain military officials’ desire to keep the trials closed and complained that Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann [official profile], legal adviser to the Convening Authority for the trials, should not have been supervising his work. The issue played a role in his resignation [JURIST report].