Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lawyers for Gitmo detainees endorse Obama

Much has been made of his endorsement by three Kennedys, but today more than 80 volunteer lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees endorsed Senator Barack Obama's presidential bid:

The attorneys said in a joint statement that they believed Obama was the best choice to roll back the Bush-Cheney administration's detention policies in the war on terrorism and thereby to "restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community." The attorneys are representing the detainees in habeas corpus lawsuits, which are efforts to get individual hearings before federal judges in order to challenge the basis for their indefinite imprisonment without trial.

The attorneys praised Obama for being a leader in an unsuccessful fight in the fall of 2006 to block Congress from enacting a law stripping courts of jurisdiction to hear Guantanamo detainee lawsuits. The constitutionality of that law, which was part of the Military Commissions Act, is now being challenged before the Supreme Court in one of the most closely-watched cases this term.

"When we were walking the halls of the Capitol trying to win over enough Senators to beat back the Administration's bill, Senator Obama made his key staffers and even his offices available to help us," they wrote. "Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. He has understood that our strength as a nation stems from our commitment to our core values, and that we are strong enough to protect both our security and those values. Senator Obama demonstrated real leadership then and since, continuing to raise Guantanamo and habeas corpus in his speeches and in the debates."
For those look for substance and policy such as Xanthippas, these kind of endorsements may be the most important.


Xanthippas said...

Yes, it's endorsements like that that people should really pay attention to.

dmarks said...

I'm still leery of the defense attorneys. I support then when they fight so the innocent escape punishment. I support them when they fight to make sure that the guilty don't get extreme unfair punishment.

However, they also often tell any lie possible in order to ensure that guilty clients escape justice. As in the OJ case. I sure hope those attorneys have better ethics than the later. Letting OJ loose is one thing, letting a terrorist loose is another.