Via Prof. Stephen Soldz’s blog Psyche, Science, and Society this seems to have been kept very quiet, their own career government lawyers are becoming conscientious objectors to the Bush regime’s corruption of the justice system and use of torture-
The government’s legal arguments justifying the detention of hundreds of people at the Guantánamo Bay naval base have been repudiated three times by the U.S. Supreme Court. But it’s not just outsiders who take issue with the U.S. Justice Department strategy: Up to one fourth of the department’s own civil appellate staff has recently opted out of handling the government’s cases against detainee appeals, two sources familiar with the matter tell U.S. News.
These conscientious objectors—their exact number is not known—have decided not to take part in the government’s litigation against the detainees because of disagreements with the legal approach, these sources say. They would not elaborate on the specific reasons for the objections, but critics have long objected to the government’s failure to formally charge detainees and have pushed for closing Guantánamo because of allegations of torture and inhumane conditions. Defense lawyers also contend that the government has stymied their cases by withholding documents and curbing client access.
The quiet rebellion has emerged in recent months among the approximately 56 attorneys in the appellate section of the Justice Department’s civil division following a court ruling in February that placed the defense of the approximately 130 remaining Guantánamo cases under the responsibility of the appellate lawyers.
This is encouraging, a small step, government employees refusing to do the state’s bidding. They will not want this to be widely known especially as there may be more examples yet to be uncovered in other branches, wider coverage of this could encourage more opposition. In the absence of real democratic opposition people are taking it upon themselves in small ways, I hope conscience is at play here more than simply legal squabbles or self preservation out of concern at any future jeopardy their work could put them in.