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In a half-dozen national security lawsuits we’ve been following, the Obama administration has so far largely stuck by the positions taken by the Bush administration. (The one significant exception has been the recent decision to file criminal charges against the only remaining U.S.-based “enemy combatant.”)
These decisions may be a temporary fix that will buy the administration time to think through its views. Or, it could indicate that the new administration simply doesn’t want to be squeezed into making policy in the court room.
One of the examples offered by ProPublica, which offers a handy chart of the relevant cases:
The Bush position on the habeas petition of four Bagram Air Base detainees:
Four detainees at the prison in Afghanistan asked a federal judge to determine whether they have the right to challenge their detention in a civilian court, like their counterparts at Guantanamo Bay. The judge gave the new administration an extra month to decide whether it would back the Bush administration’s argument for dismissing the case.
The Obama position:
Obama administration lawyers replied last Friday: “Having considered the matter, the Government adheres to its previously articulated position.” That position includes the concept of a global battlefield that would allow indefinite detention of prisoners like the petitioners, who say they were picked up outside Afghanistan, far from any traditional battlefield.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”