Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Hello? Earth to Justice Dept…

The New York Times reports:

Lawyers for many of the detainees, including the ones named in the Supreme Court ruling, say the Bush administration is purposely ignoring the justices’ mandate and stalling.

They cite the government’s refusal to acknowledge that detainees are entitled to free access to lawyers to make their cases before federal judges. More broadly, they argue that the government is still trying to argue issues it has already lost in the Supreme Court, especially that the detainees have full rights to challenge their detentions in lower federal courts.

The senior Justice Department official who asked not to be named said the administration understood that while “we don’t think there is a constitutional right to counsel, we understand there is a sort of a functional right” under the federal law that covers habeas corpus challenges.

Excuse me? Maybe the Times is misquoting. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding something…

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. (Amendment VI.)

Out here in the reality-based community, that’s pretty clear.