Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Padilla vs Yoo"

Just up on Dispatches from the Culture Wars:

Padilla vs Yoo

An interesting lawsuit has been filed by attorneys for Jose Padilla, the American citizen accused of being an Al Qaeda operative and traitor who was held for several years in a military prison without any rights whatsoever. The government said they had to do this because he was a terrorist who tried to build a "dityr bomb", until the Supreme Court forced the Bush administration to either charge him or release him and they ended up charging him with a bunch of things totally unrelated to a dirty bomb.

The suit has been filed against John Yoo and follows on the heels of a similar suit filed against John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld. Yoo is the former White House counsel who provided the legal justification - such as it was - for Padilla's detention. The suit is asking for $1 in damages and declaratory relief, so this is clearly not a suit about money but principle.

Yoo has responded in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, but I'm afraid he does himself far more harm than good. For instance, he is arguing in favor of qualified immunity, the principle that generally protects those in political office from being sued in court for actions they took pursuant to their official duties. And I agree that qualified immunity is generally a good thing, but there are limits on it and Yoo admits to them:


I'll try to write a bit more on this in a bit...

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