Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Haynes Collides with Hamdan Ruling Tomorrow

WASHINGTON - July 11 - Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider both the Supreme Court’s rebuke of the Bush administration’s unlawful military tribunal scheme and the nomination of Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes – a coauthor of the executive order which created the tribunals – to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Haynes failed to answer many questions during his first hearing before the committee in 2003. Since then a great deal of evidence has been disclosed that directly ties Haynes, a protégé of Dick Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington, to disastrous Bush administration policies on the detention and treatment of prisoners that have done our nation immeasurable harm.

Haynes’ nomination has notably drawn opposition from some of the individuals best able to evaluate his legal work, such as former Rear Admiral Donald Guter, who worked with Haynes as Judge Advocate General of the Navy, former Rear Admiral John Hutson, and former Brigadier General Edward Rodriguez Jr. of the Air Force Reserves. Additionally, conservative lawyer and former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, who worked under Haynes in the Defense Department, has provided an insider’s look at the extremist nature of Haynes’ legal maneuvering.

In his capacity as General Counsel to the Defense Department, Haynes played a central role in developing the administration’s controversial and often unlawful detainee policies, including the use of coercive and torturous interrogation techniques, denial of due process rights and Geneva Convention protections, and use of military tribunals to try and sentence so-called “enemy combatants” of war crimes. In pursuit of these goals Haynes sidelined high-level military and civilian lawyers and misled Senator Patrick Leahy and the American public when he assured in a June 2003 letter that “it is the policy of the United States to comply with all of its legal obligations in its treatment of detainees, and in particular with legal obligations prohibiting torture.”

Haynes’ record demonstrates a lack of commitment to equal justice, due process rights, and the separation of powers and draws into question his very ability to accurately and independently interpret and apply the law. Furthermore, there is a clear connection between Haynes’ legal work and actions that have tarnished the reputation of our nation, including the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s rebuke of Haynes and the administration over military tribunals, it should be an obvious choice for Senators to reject his promotion to the federal bench.

People For the American Way Legal Director Elliot Mincberg is available to discuss Haynes, the Hamdan ruling, and the administration’s policies on the treatment and detention of prisoners. For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Josh Glasstetter at 202-467-2301


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