Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Guantánamo Lawyers Lobby Congress


WASHINGTON -- Seventy-five lawyers for nearly 400 Guantanamo Bay detainees urged Congress on Tuesday to give the prisoners access to U.S. courts.
Fanning out across Capitol Hill for private meetings with senators and House members, the attorneys are seeking legislation to overturn a section of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that stripped the detainees of court access.

Under last year's law, the detainees are entitled to a procedural review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia into whether they were properly designated unlawful enemy combatants.

Congress has supported "executive branch extremism" by enacting legislation that overrides Supreme Court rulings, retired federal appeals court judge John J. Gibbons said at a news conference with some of the lawyers. The court ruled in 2004 and a year ago that detainees do have rights.

"We're not talking about a get-out-of-jail-free card; we're simply talking about having a right to be heard in court," said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The center, acting largely on its own, filed the first lawsuits on the detainees' behalf in February 2002, a month after the Bush administration brought the first prisoners to Guantanamo Bay.

Since then, more than 500 lawyers from prominent firms and law schools nationwide have donated their time and paid their own expenses to represent the detainees.


The Law Office of H. Candace Gorman said...

I want to thank everyone for taking the time today to contact their senators and members of congress. All day long as the gitmo attorneys were heading from congressional office to office we heard that the congressional members themselves were hearing from record numbers of their constituents and that they were being told the message that guantanamo must be closed and habeas corpus must be restored. Many senators and congressional representatives were surprised at the numbers of constituents they were hearing from. It is to each of you that we (the attorneys and the detainees) owe both our thanks and our support.
Someone told me (or I read) that when congress receives a call (or two) they ignore it... when they receive 100 calls they start to think and after 100 calls they know they better act..
I hope that our members of congress received more than 100 calls today and that they know now that it is time to act.
It is only with the pressure from each of us that justice will prevail. Please keep up this battle. I assure you that we, the habeas counsel, will do our part.

Sorry if this is here twice... technical issue you know....

Anonymous said...

Candace, thank YOU and the other habeas attorneys.

Though the American people by and large don't know it, let alone appreciate it, you are, quite frankly, our last line of defense against tyranny (a roll the Congress you lobbied today and the courts you appear before have long since defaulted on, though hope springs eternal the Congress at least can redeem itself).

I've said it before: Cully Stimson and the Bush Administration be damned... you'all are the heroes.

--the talking dog