Saturday, January 5, 2008

Padilla is suing Yoo

...for the whopping sum of one whole dollar.

It isn't about money, it's about principle.

Jose Padilla is the American citizen who was held without charge for three years in solitary confinement in the Navy brig at Charleston, South Carolina. He was denied his Constitutional rights to legal counsel, to a speedy trial and to Habeas Corpus.

John Yoo is the former Justice Department official who wrote the legal memorandums and briefs pertaining to interrogations and the treatment of detainees. Yoo's specious legal work gave cover to the undermining of the Constitution and rationalized and justified torture; as well as indefinite detention of anyone for any reason, so long as the president declared the person in question an "enemy combatant."

In January 2006, Mr. Padilla was transfered from military custody to the criminal justice system by a terrified United States government mere steps ahead of the courts weighing in on the legality of his detention. (Timeline here)

In February 2007, Mr. Padilla filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in South Carolina against multiple administration officials and former officials, including Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft. That suit stems from his treatment while he was imprisoned without charge in the Navy brig, classified as an enemy combatant.

The suit against Yoo takes a different tack than that original suit, asserting that “[A] lawyer who gives the green light to clearly illegal conduct is an accomplice to that conduct.”

The suit against Mr. Yoo is partly based on the recent book The Terror Presidency by Jack Goldsmith, a professor at the Harvard School of Law who served in the Justice Department in 2003 and 2004. While serving at main Justice, Mr. Goldsmith disavowed some of Mr. Yoo's legal work. Specifically, in the book, he charges that two of Mr. Yoo's memorandums were “legally flawed” and “tendentious in substance and tone.”

Mr. Yoo's attorney, Eric M. George, of course issued the obligatory sneering, condescending dismissal of Mr. Padilla’s suit, calling it “a political diatribe” that “belongs, at best, in a journal, not before a federal court.”

Whatever, Mr. George. Bill your client - overbill the sonofabitch hundreds of thousands of dollars for all I care - and let's let the courts decide. I'm sure Padilla will accept the ruling. Will Yoo?

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