War on Terror

Ed. note: This post is by “The Gobbler,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I was asked to cover the lawsuit filed yesterday by the ACLU against the Obama administration regarding its policy of keeping a “kill list” and, to a larger extent, following up on it. Ashby Jones does a workmanlike summary of the basics here, providing links to background, discussion, and the complaint. Rather than rehash the facts, or lead a discussion of the latest embarrassingly naked moment in America’s long history of civil-rights-shrinkage during dips in the wartime pool, I thought I’d get creative. Sorry.

What follows is a screenplay depicting the rocky relationship between Mr. Anwar al-Aulaqi (pictured), the first American citizen added to the CIA’s naughty list; the ACLU, which, on Anwar’s behalf, alleges that the list and any action thereon violates several sections of the Constitution and international law; and the American Government. As the title suggests, it’s based on the plot and dialogue from Wedding Crashers. Christopher Walken will play the role of America, with Keir O’Donnell (a/k/a “Todd”) playing the role of Anwar. The supporting cast, in order of appearance: Vince Vaughn as ACLU, Owen Wilson as Center for Constitutional Rights, Ellen Dow (think “Rapper’s Delight” in The Wedding Singer) as Righty Conservative, Isla Fisher as Treasury, Bradley Cooper as District Court and Rachel McAdams as Court of Appeals.

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The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.


– Attorney General Eric Holder

Paul Weiss logo.JPGThat’s the question essentially posed in a barn-burning op-ed piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Debra Burlingame and Thomas Joscelyn. Burlingame is the sister of Charles Burlingame III, pilot of the American Airlines plane that was crashed at the Pentagon on September 11; Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Burlingame and Joscelyn begin their opinion piece, Gitmo’s Indefensible Lawyers, by discussing Paul Weiss partner Julia Tarver Mason (who, by the way, is rather attractive; she looks like a cross between Kristin Davis, aka Charlotte from Sex and the City, and Andie MacDowell). The WSJ op-ed writers claim that Mason improperly used “legal mail” — “privileged lawyer-client communications that are exempt from screening by security personnel” — to provide one of her clients, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, with inflammatory propaganda from Amnesty International (a brochure, written in Arabic, depicting alleged abuse against Arabs and Muslims by Americans).
Writes one of several ATL readers who brought this article to our attention:

Wow. I didn’t know that Paul Weiss was involved in such potentially dubious acts.

But did Paul Weiss actually do anything wrong? Let’s discuss….

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Leading law firm attacked in controversial WSJ op-ed.

Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies logo Above the Law blog.jpgOn Tuesday night, we attended a very interesting panel discussion, “Do We Have the Legal Tools to Prevent Terrorist Attacks?” It was sponsored by the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, and it featured the following panelists:

Andrew C. McCarthy (no, not that Andrew McCarthy) — Senior Fellow, National Review Institute, and author, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad.

Glenn Sulmasy — Professor, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and author, The National Security Court System: A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror.

Samuel J. Rascoff — Assistant Professor, NYU Law School and Former Director of Intelligence Analysis for the New York City Police Department and Special Assistant to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq

Hon. Kenneth M. Karas — United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (moderator)

Read about the wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion, after the jump.

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Michael Mukasey small Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgTired of talking about terrorism, torture, and related topics? You might not be alone. At a Federalist Society discussion we attended on Tuesday night, entitled Do We Have the Legal Tools to Prevent Terrorist Attacks?, even some of the panelists wondered why these subjects still generate so much discussion, over seven years after the 9/11 attacks. (More about the panel later today.)
Similarly, when former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey made the war on terror the focus of his recent commencement address at UNC School of Law, some of the graduates (and their families) were less than pleased. From one attendee:

Michael Mukasey just spoke at UNC commencement and used the entire speech to cover his own ass on torture. It was wildly inappropriate for a graduation….

A lot of people were very upset. The speech hardly mentioned the students graduating, if at all, and was instead a 30-minute legal argument defending torture. He focused on Jose Padilla for most of the speech, basically talking about how bad of a person he was and how much information they got from him. People in the audience were walking out, including all ten members of my family who were present.

This is not the first time Mukasey has caused commencement controversy. See here (first paragraph), discussing events at Boston College Law School last year.
Some way harsh reviews of ex-AG Mukasey, after the jump.

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* A “court” upheld the government’s authority to tap international phone calls and emails without a warrant. [The Washington Post]

* Would-be Attorney General Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing went well yesterday, and he will go for more today. [The Associated Press]

* Marc Dreier, the lawyer who sold hedge funds phony investments, wants to be released on bail. [Reuters]

* The Senate released the second portion of the bailout fund yesterday, giving Obama a tidy $350 billion to get the economy back on track. [The New York Times]

* In an effort to rally lending, President-elect Obama’s advisors are considering drastic proposals that would take toxic assets of bank balance sheets. [Bloomberg]

A clear winner emerged from the 2499 votes on ATL’s Tighty-Whities caption contest:

lawyer in white briefs attorney underwear.jpg

“And now my junior partner has something he’d like to say…”

The man in the photo is David Remes, a partner at Covington & Burling — but not for long, as reported by the Legal Times. From the WSJ Law Blog:

David Remes, who made Law Blog headlines last week for removing his pants at a news conference in Yemen, is leaving the firm, according to the Legal Times, which reported the news over the weekend. Remes will reportedly devote himself exclusively to human rights litigation.

Last week, we reported that Remes (Columbia, Harvard Law), who’s representing 15 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, removed his pants at a news conference in Yemen. Remes was attempting to demonstrate what he feels are the inappropriate body searches that detainees are undergoing several times per day.

“At the press conference in Yemen — this is a society where the rule of morality is so strict — I wanted to drive home the degree of humiliation that these searches cause by illustrating a typical body search,” Remes told the LB.

Biglaw doesn’t like seeing those kinds of briefs.

Remes Resigns from Covington & Burling [BLT]
David Remes, Who Dropped His Pants in Yemen, to Leave Covington [Wall Street Journal Law Blog]

Earlier: ‘Tighty-Whities’ Caption Contest Finalists

lawyer in white briefs attorney underwear.jpgWe’re currently running a caption contest for the photo at right. We’re not the only ones with an ongoing legally-themed caption contest. If one flips to the back of the current infamous New Yorker issue, the cartoon for their caption contest (Contest #153) is set in a courtroom. We’ll keep an eye on that contest, and issue an opinion on the finalists when they are announced.

We prefer not to give you the context for caption contest photos, but the background on this one is as exposed as the lawyer in the photo. It’s up on Yahoo! News, the WSJ Law Blog, and the ABA Journal, among other places. It got more publicity over the weekend, with the news that David Remes, the pants-dropping partner in the picture, is leaving Covington & Burling (as reported by the Legal Times; see also the WSJ, via New York magazine).

We’re pushing on with the contest, since we had over 200 entries. These are our finalists:

A. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief…”
B. “Million Dollar Pants Lawsuit: Part 2″
C. “Ya know, John, I think the school board had something else in mind when they asked for an assembly on the how the penal system works.”
D. “Having been found guilty of malpractice, the lawyer literally had his pants sued off.”
E. “Another unsuccessful effort to get ‘junk’ science before the jury.”
F. “And now my junior partner has something he’d like to say…”
G. “[Y]our honor, i thought you said you wanted to take a closer look at the briefs.”
H. “You think that jury was hung?”
I. “Counsel, the phrase ‘may it please the court’ is NOT a literal request.”
J. “Other Van Winkle Law Firm partners have expressed concern that Joe represented his favorite extracurricular activity a little too enthusiastically in his ‘Meet Joe’ bio photo.”

Earlier: ATL Caption Contest: Tighty-Whities

Barack Obama small Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.JPG* Spitzer may — or make that will — resign today. [CNN; New York Times]
* Obama wins Mississippi, picks up more Texas delegates than Clinton. [CNN]
* Gitmo war-crimes tribunal to hear detainee’s case. [MSNBC]
* Houses passes proposal to create independent ethics panel. [Washington Post]
* Another French trader taken into custody in connection with gigantic trading scandal. [AP]
* Irish appeals court chews up, spits out, libel ruling against restaurant critic. [AFP via Drudge]

* “T.Owes.” [ESPN]
* Rebates to $500? [CNN]
* AG Mukasey won’t label waterboarding. [MSNBC]
* Sen. McCain wins Florida, Rudy to bow out. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* Federal inquiry into stolen artifacts expands. [New York Times]
* Margaret Truman, only child of President Truman and author of mysteries set at the Supreme Court and the FBI, RIP. [AP]

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