Our Government’s Ceaseless Effort to Deny a Citizen Due Process Now Requires He Be Given A Lawyer

U.S. Allows Lawyer For Citizen Held as 'Enemy Combatant' (washingtonpost.com)
Don't celebrate. Our government's ceaseless campaign to uphold its power to incarcerate citizens without access to counsel or other basic rights required that Yaser Esam Hamdi be promised access to counsel — in order to keep the Supreme Court from finding he or others similarly situated in the future have a right to a lawyer:

In a brief statement, Defense Department officials said Hamdi would be allowed to see a lawyer “as a matter of discretion and military policy.” But the statement emphasized that the government did not feel obligated to make a lawyer available and that the decision “should not be treated as a precedent.”

See, it's all about making the next guy rot for months and years until his case gets to the Supreme Court. And maybe next time there won't be an amicus from a hundred big-name legal experts. And meanwhile, there's that really nifty Fourth Circuit decision saying the government can run a cooler camp for the unpersons formerly known as suspects.

Or, if you want the most pro-administration spin compatible with the facts, it's about grabbing carefully selected (of course!) folks off the street, putting them in solitary without charges, indefinitely, and squeezing them until they are dry. Then, if the government feels like it, the victim- -suspect former unperson “might be granted access to a lawyer once his value as an intelligence source ended, although [Deputy Solicitor General Paul D. Clement] said the decision should be up to the executive branch and not the courts.”

In other words, Rights? Fuggeddaboutit.

Meanwhile, I learned from this same article about a third person being held in the US unperson zone, in addition to Hamdi and Padilla: one Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Unlike Hamdi and Padilla, al-Marri is not a US citizen, but he was in the US (and apparently legally admitted at that) and thus is entitled to the same constitutional rights as a citizen.

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