Thursday Roundup

October 19, 2006

Marty Lederman finds a recent op-ed by John Yoo to be surprisingly revealing:

Eliminating the checks and balances of judicial oversight has been the primary goal of the Administration all along, as John's own memos and other writings quite forthrightly reveal. In his new book, John describes how in the weeks after September 11th, an interagency task force of lawyers was convened to study the wide array of legal issues related to the detention and trial of suspected Al Qaeda personnel. Presumably there were many difficult questions that the task force debated. But there was, as John recounts, "one thing we all agreed on" -- namely, "that any detention facility should be located outside the United States."

Why was this the one point of absolute consensus within the Administration? Isn't that odd -- that the easy point of unanimous agreement was to keep our detention operations outside of our own nation, above all else? It's not as if these captured persons were all detained where they were found. No -- they were shipped halfway around the world; but instead of, say, detaining them at a military brig in South Carolina, which would have been the logical plan, the planes and ships made a sharp left turn at the last moment so that these folks would disembark in Cuba, which is less than 100 miles from the Florida coast.

The reason, of course, for such a resolute determination to keep the detainees offshore, was (as John quite candidly writes) because the lawyers assumed GTMO was a law-free zone -- a location imperious to any judicial oversight. And of course, in light of what we were doing to these detainees, there was damn good reason to keep our operations out the plain sight of any courts, lest they have the temerity to insist that the Administration follow the law.

R.A. Lenhardt predicts that two landmark affirmative action cases will suffer a fate similar to Roe:

[I]t seems unlikely that the Court will use Parents Involved and Meredith as an opportunity to overrule the core holdings of Grutter and Gratz. Indeed, it would be somewhat remarkable if there were five votes any time soon to overturn these precedents. It is more likely that the Court will subject Grutter and Gratz to the first of a thousand Roe-like deaths by holding that the interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity is not compelling in the public elementary and secondary school context or that the programs at issue in the Seattle and Jefferson county cases are not narrowly tailored.

Andrew Siegel compares early law reviews to blogs.
Jeralyn Merritt writes about Arthur Rutherford, who was executed today after receiving a temporary stay from the Supreme Court.
Jessica Valenti is bothered by rhetoric emerging from opponents of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, which seeks to protect mail-order brides from entering abusive relationships.