Matthew Waxman

Matthew Waxman Matt Waxman Matthew C Waxman Above the Law blog.jpgAs previously discussed, Matthew Waxman — a member of the Elect (OT 2000/Souter), and a law school classmate of ours — is headed for academia. He recently accepted an offer to join the faculty of Columbia Law School. Congratulations, Matt!
But in the meantime, Waxman is pretty busy over at the State Department. Steve Clemons of the Washington Note writes:

Policy Planning Director Stephen Krasner has now officially departed for Stanford — and “Acting Director Matthew Waxman” is in place.

Waxman is an ideas entrepreneur with character (he is one of the real insider heroes who while at DoD fought against the erosion of the Geneva Conventions on torture). He also gets strategy and knows that water wars, transnational disease transmission, environmental challenges posed by climate change dynamics, massive refugee crises, and other non-traditional problems must be dealt with as well as thinking through how a superpower manages its interests in a world where other superpowers — and even not so super powers — aren’t the overriding security challenge.

Clemons shares our high opinion of Waxman — and thinks that his appointment as Policy Planning Director should be made permanent:

[P]erhaps State should remove the “acting” from Matthew Waxman’s title and roll the dice on someone who appears to many to be a 21st century “young Yoda.” Waxman, who I have met on occasion, reminds me of a hybrid of strategic wunderkind Paul Nitze and Eisenhower acolyte Andy Goodpaster.

One senior State Department official believes that Condi Rice “wants a name” heading Policy Planning — someone “with more stature.” But this is a pivotal time in American history and foreign policy. Not a lot of what we did yesterday will be that helpful in thinking through what we need to do tomorrow. Everything needs to be rethought.

Condi: Let’s not forget that Waxman is a former Supreme Court clerk. Isn’t that enough “stature” for you?
(We realize that a SCOTUS clerkship is a legal credential, and that Waxman’s current position is a policy post. But genius does not recognize such small-minded, jurisdictional limitations. Three cheers for Supreme Court clerks!)
Getting John Bolton Off of Bush’s Payroll Correlates with Improved US Foreign Policy Gains [The Washington Note]
Matthew Waxman bio [U.S. Department of State]
Earlier: Some Weekend Odds and Ends

Rose Garden White House Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s a beautiful April afternoon (at least here on the East Coast). You shouldn’t be in front of your computer right now.
But in case you are, here are a few quick items of interest:
1. Columbia Faculty Hire Faces Human Rights Questions [New York Sun]

We went to law school with Matt Waxman (OT 2000/Souter). It’s unfortunate that he’s the subject of such controversy, because he’s a true mensch — and one of the “good guys” with respect to human rights issues. As the Sun notes:

“The criticism of Mr. Waxman as insensitive to human rights concerns is seen as paradoxical in some circles since he dissented from aspects of the Bush administration’s policy on detainees and argued that the Geneva Conventions should be the official policy for all those in military hands.”

2. Another Development in Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney [Leonard Link]

There’s always something to say about the Aaron Charney / Sullivan & Cromwell litigation. In this excellent post, Professor Arthur Leonard offers some intriguing speculation about some recent (and bizarre) developments in the case.

3. Tampa stadium authority asks court for tighter security [ESPN.com]

The federal government is being represented by Jonathan Cohn (OT 2000/Thomas), another former O’Scannlain clerk, currently serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Appellate. Good luck, Jon!

charles stimson charles d stimson.jpgOne of you thinks that this news warrants a Saturday post. And we see your point.*
The article in question is running on the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. So, from the NYT:

The senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.

The comments by Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, produced an instant torrent of anger from lawyers, legal ethics specialists and bar association officials, who said Friday that his comments were repellent and displayed an ignorance of the duties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble….

When asked in the radio interview who was paying for the legal representation, Mr. Stimson replied: “It’s not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that.”

Props to this Charles Stimson fellow. Even if his views may be completely misguided, we like anyone who stirs up a s**tstorm.
Discussion continues after the jump.

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