No sooner had I jumped all over the ABA (in an earlier post) for ABA President Carolyn Lamm’s statement on behalf of the Guantanamo attorneys when I found out that, despite the poorly drafted statement from Lamm, the ABA has been actively writing letters condemning the use of Military Commissions for the men at Guantanamo. Hopefully someone will talk to Lamm about her talking points….meanwhile, I am now resolved to finding out exactly what position (if any) the ABA has taken on all of these subjects (torture, indefinite detention, rendition, trials...etc) and I will report back….giving credit where credit is due.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Speaking of inconvenient truths (were we not?) The American Bar Association (ABA) is the largest bar association in this country. Much to its shame the ABA has pretty much stood on the sidelines while the rule of law has dissolved these past ten years, rarely taking a public stand regarding such issues as the illegality of “torture” “rendition” or “indefinite detention without charge.”
So I guess it should come as no surprise when the President of the ABA, Carolyn Lamm, decided to make a statement in support of those of us representing Guantanamo detainees that she would do so in such a way as to reinforce the stereotypes of the ignorant rather than as an opportunity to educate the American people as to why Guantanamo and these policies are wounding our legal system.
Here is what Ms. Lamm had to say:
"A fundamental tenet of our justice system is that any one who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to uphold that principle and provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government--even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt. The American people understand this obligation, and the corollary principle that representing a client is a commitment to a legal system that requires justice, not to any one client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities. Impugning the character of lawyers who have sought to protect the fundamental rights of unpopular clients is a divisive and diversionary tactic." (my emphasis)
Maybe someone with more time on their hands could point out to Ms. Lamm that we (the Guantanamo Attorneys) are fighting for our Constitution and the rule of law. Perhaps Ms. Lamm does not know that the men at Guantanamo have not been charged with any crime...nor will the vast majority of them ever be charged.... As to Ms. Lamm’s characterization of our clients as taking part in the name of "cause[s] that evoke our contempt" Yikes....I don't even want to know what she is referring to there… but suffice it to say that if she is suggesting that our clients have been engaged in any type of terrorists activity let me remind her that in this country a person is innocent until proven guilty…at least that is how is used to be.
Thanks for your help Ms. Lamm