War on Terror

Under Armour Under Armor underwear briefs Guantanamo Bay Above the Law blog.jpgLife for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, while difficult, isn’t 100 percent grim. From yesterday’s Washington Post:

Undergarments from Under Armour, the sports apparel line, offer “all-day performance, delivered in a lightweight compression fit,” at least according to the company’ s promotional material. While “unprecedented” in its ability to deliver comfort, Under Armour underwear is not standard issue for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. So when two men in detention there were found to possess the contraband briefs, the Navy attorney contacted their attorneys. One of the detainees in question is Shaker Aamer, whose release the British government wrote to request from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in August.

But before turning to the larger question of whether Aamer will stay or go, there’s the question of what he’s wearing. And as the recent exchange between the Navy lawyer and Aamer’s attorney Clive Stafford Smith illustrates, in the legal wrangling over detention, even details on intimates can lead to contentious debate…

You read excerpts from the hilarious correspondence, which showcase the dry British wit of Clive Stafford-Smith, over here.
But for those of you who like to look at original documents — and we know that, since you’re mostly lawyers, you love yourselves some primary docs — we’re pleased to present the complete correspondence (with original letterhead, signatures, etc.). Just click here (PDF). Enjoy!
Correspondence Between Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Navy, and Clive A. Stafford-Smith [PDF]
An Incursion of Briefs at Guantanamo [Washington Post]

Clarence Thomas 2 Justice Clarence Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgEd. notes: First, B. Clerker is unavailable this morning, so we’re doing Morning Docket ourselves. Second, by the time you read this, we’ll be attending this event. But we’ve arranged for previously written posts (like this one) to be published in our absence.
* John Edwards tries to put a noble spin on the financial desperation of his flailing campaign. Stick a fork in him; he’s done. [WP; NYT]
* Jena One released on bail. [AP]
* Fourteen “high-value” terrorism suspects will be allowed to request lawyers. KSM will use his to sue Teleflex. [WP]
* In Pakistan, the Supreme Court gets involved in elections too. From the gallery: “Go, Musharraf, go!” [AP via WP]
* Set your TiVo, judicial groupies: Justice Thomas will be on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Thankfully, his interview — in which he’s rumored to call Anita Hill “a nappy-headed ho” — doesn”t conflict with the season premiere of Desperate Housewives. [WSJ Law Blog]

Michael Mukasey Chief Judge Michael B Mukasey SDNY Above the Law blog.jpgNo official announcement has been made (despite the claim of Wikipedia that “[o]n September 16, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Mukasey to serve as the 81st Attorney General of the United States”). But numerous news outlets are reporting that President Bush has selected Michael B. Mukasey — currently a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New Yorker, and former chief judge of the S.D.N.Y. — as his attorney general nominee, to replace Alberto Gonzales.
We’ll have more to say after an official announcement, which could come as early as tomorrow morning. In the meantime, read Judge Mukasey’s interesting, frequently cited Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, on the Jose Padilla case (which he handled in part).
If you have firsthand experience with Judge Mukasey — e.g., as a litigant who has appeared before him, or as one of his law clerks — please share your thoughts in the comments, or by email. Thanks.
Bush plans to pick Mukasey for A.G. [Politico.com]
Bush Settles on Mukasey to Replace Gonzales [Washington Post]
Bush Expected to Name Judge as Gonzales’s Successor [New York Times]
Judge Top Contender to Replace Gonzales: Aide [Reuters]
Bush Picks Mukasey as Attorney General [AP]
Sources: Retired judge may replace Gonzales [CNN]
Jose Padilla Makes Bad Law [Wall Street Journal]
Michael B. Mukasey [Wikipedia]

Fox 24 twenty-four Jack Bauer Kiefer Sutherland Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re not being sarcastic. This course, to be offered at Georgetown Law in spring 2008, sounds awesome. To the average law student, it’s probably way more interesting than securities regulation (or even ERISA — one of our favorite law school classes). [FN1]
From the GULC course catalog:

The Law of “24″
Professor W. Sharp
LL.M Course 853 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The award winning Fox Television drama series 24 explores America’s fictional response to international terrorism through the eyes of Jack Bauer, a U.S. counter-terrorism agent. Oftentimes without remorse or regard for the law, Agent Bauer is willing to do what has to be done when faced with the threat of kidnappings, assassinations, nuclear detonations, and bioterrorism on U.S. soil – despite traitors in his family, his unit, and the White House; partisan politics; sleeper cells; and hidden agendas.

This course provides a detailed understanding of a very wide-range of U.S. domestic and international legal issues concerning counterterrorism in the context of the utilitarian and sometimes desperate responses to terrorism raised by the plot of 24. Course requirements include active classroom discussion and a paper of approximately 25 pages.

If Jack Goldsmith’s new book is correct, it seems some members of the Bush Administration legal team might benefit from this class.
The instructor, adjunct professor Walter Sharp, sounds pretty badass. He’s a Naval Academy grad who currently serves as Associate Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Defense Department. He previously served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pretty cool!
[FN1] We followed, with interest and amusement, this recent spirited commenters’ debate over whether you can get a “real” legal education at Yale. For those of you who care, we offer some thoughts on that subject after the jump.
The Law of “24″ [Georgetown University Law Center]
Faculty bio: Walter Gary Sharp [Georgetown University Law Center]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Law School Course Ever?”

* Who needs lawyers? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Take the deal, Vick. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Buyer’s remorse on the surveillance law? [New York Times]
* I want a new drug website. [BBC]
* Being the creepiest guy on earth is apparently not a crime. [CNN]

Jose Padilla 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgJose Padilla: committed al-Qaida terrorist, or harmless (and not very good) student of Arabic?
After a three month trial, the jury deliberated for a day and a half. Now they’ve reached a verdict.
We’ll bring you the details as soon as we have them. A day and a half isn’t very long given the length of the trial. Is that a bad sign for the prosecution or the defense?
Update: A bad sign for the defense: Jose Padilla has been convicted of federal terrorism support charges. Next time around, Jose, don’t fill out a written application to join the terrorists.
Verdict Reached in Padilla Terror Case [Associated Press]
Jury reaches verdict in Padilla terror trial [CNN]

Raed Jarrar ACLU T-shirt Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome fashion advice for Arab-Americans traveling by plane: leave the Arabic-slogan t-shirts at home.
Unless you want to become the plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit. Consider this recently filed case:

The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit charging that a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official and JetBlue Airways illegally discriminated against an American resident based solely on the Arabic message on his t-shirt and his ethnicity.

JetBlue and the TSA official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script.

According to the complaint, Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’”

Oy. Gotta love those enlightened TSA officials. Should Jarrar have worn a burqa instead?
Okay, seriously — if Raed Jarrar were a terrorist intent on wreaking havoc, would he really have worn such a t-shirt on to an airplane? Isn’t that just a recipe for extra-special scrutiny from the federal air marshal?
(On the other hand, perhaps one could argue, under a “reverse psychology” rubric, that a terrorist might don such a t-shirt because everyone would think: “Only the most dumb-ass terrorist would call attention to himself with his outfit!”)
ACLU Sues TSA Official, JetBlue for Discriminating Against Passenger Wearing Arabic T-Shirt [American Civil Liberties Union]
“We Will Not Be Silent” [ACLU (lawsuit homepage)]
The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun! [Concurring Opinions]
After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack [The Onion]

First Aid kit emergency kit Davis Polk Wardwell Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAlthough located uncomfortably close to the site of yesterday’s steam pipe explosion, Davis Polk & Wardwell has some of the nicest offices around. When we were in law school, Davis was known as “Land of the Beautiful People.” They had the most gorgeous offices, and the best-looking associates (and summer associates).
DPW also seems to have great — or at least distinctive and unique — perks. First we heard about their marriage bonus. And now, in the wake of yesterday’s calamity, we get this news:

I am an associate at Davis Polk, a few blocks from the explosion in midtown [yesterday] afternoon. We were evacuated and I took the firm-provided emergency kit as I left. No real news from the evacuation but here is something that came up as I was walking home.

A friend from White and Case was having a drink at a nearby bar and I stopped on my way home. She saw my emergency kit and asked what it was. I said “you know the emergency kit that all the firms give you on your first day.” Well, needless to say she was pissed that White and Case has no such kit!

I think this would be another fun “perks” thread. So kicking it off, the Davis Polk kit has a flashlight, glow stick, emergency blanket, battery powered radio. But the real kicker is that we have this hood that you can wear in a smoke-filled room and still breathe for about a half hour.

So if a “dirty bomb” goes off in New York City someday (God forbid), bet on the Davis Polksters to emerge alive. Along with a few Milberg Weiss partners cockroaches.
Update: From our original DPW source:

“By the way, forgot to mention that besides the f’ing awesome smoke hood, the safety kit also has potassium iodide tablets to prevent radiation poisoning.”

“Suck it Wachtell!”

Jose Padilla Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
From the NYT Reporter’s Notebook on the Jose Padilla trial (previously linked to here):

Prosecutors have tried to prove Mr. Padilla’s guilt with a training camp application they say he filled out and wiretapped phone conversations in which he took part or was discussed. But they have no witnesses who saw Mr. Padilla fill out the form, and the phone recordings make him sound more troubled than malign. They suggest Mr. Padilla, a former gang member in Chicago and fast-food worker in South Florida, struggled to fit in and learn Arabic in Egypt, where he moved in 1998.

“Basically, he is a slow learner,” one of Mr. Padilla’s associates told another in 1999, five months after he arrived in Cairo. “Basically, he doesn’t want to speak. I mean, the man doesn’t … doesn’t move.”

There’s a difference between incompetence and complacency. Nevertheless, Padilla’s inefficacy puts us in mind of this great Onion article.
Mysteries, Legal and Sartorial, at Padilla Trial [New York Times]
After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack [The Onion]

Can you blame Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for not being more in the loop on the U.S. Attorney firings? He’s been holding down not one but TWO demanding jobs. Check out the DOJ homepage (unchanged as of this morning, despite this Friday afternoon post by Wonkette):
Alberto Gonzales FARC news release Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
If Alberto Gonzales can survive the revelation that “he” is actually a female, drug-trafficking terrorist — who may possibly be related to Wilmer Valderrama — then clearly he’s untouchable.
Meanwhile, in other Justice Department news (expect announcements later today or tomorrow):

The stylish pumps of the fabulous Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand, whose last day as head of the Office of Legal Policy is today, will be filled on an acting basis by another former Kennedy clerk, Brett Gerry (OT 2000).

Congratulations to Brett Gerry on his new post. Alberto Gonzales needs all the help he can get these days.
Why Is This Man Smiling? [Wonkette]
High Ranking Member of Colombian FARC Narco-Terrorist Organization Sentenced on U.S. Drug Charges [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Why Did the Prom Queen Leave the Party?
Congratulations to Ken Wainstein (profiling Wainstein’s front office staff at NSD)

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