Homage to Judge Leon

I had the privilege of seeing Judge Richard Leon at work.  I testified in his court as an expert witness in the habeas corpus hearing of a young man who had been held at Gitmo for nearly ten years.  this fellow had argued with his father in the UAE and then fled to Pakistan to escape the father's wrath.  The Pakistanis trucked him and some others to the Khyber Pass where they were abandoned in winter without warm clothing, money or travel documents.  The Taliban government of Afghanistan turned this 19 year old over to AQ who told him that he was going to be a jihadi warrior.  He declined the "honor" and said he wanted to go home to see his mother.  As a result the Taliban government of Afghanistan decided that he was an American spy and sentenced him to prison at Kandahar.  He was there for two years until liberated by US forces.  He stayed on at the prison as a hired janitor until a sergeant at Kandahar air base somehow decided that he was an AQ terrorist and sent him to Guantanamo.

Judge Leon listened to my analysis of the facts of the case and then excoriated the Department of Justice prosecutors for the egregious nature of their belief that this prisoner of the Taliban was somehow secretly an AQ sympathiser.  He ordered the man released to the custody of a European country that wanted to take him in.  This lost soul graduated from the national university in that country, got married and practises law, secular law.

Unfortunately, the DC court of appeals has frequently demonstrated its loyalty to the Justice Department and Leon's opinion may be reversed.

Judge Leon has expressed the thought that James Madison would be horrified at the scope and nature of NSA domestic surveillance.  Amen.  pl



This entry was posted in Intelligence, Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Homage to Judge Leon

  1. Edward Amame says:

    Millett got confirmed the D.C. Circuit. Two more Obama nominees are expected to be confirmed soon. That will shift the court count to 7 Dem-appointed judges and 4 GOP-appointed judges.
    Who knows, maybe that will give Judge Leon’s NSA data-mining ruling a better shot at standing.

  2. Basilisk says:

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum–let justice be done though the heavens fall. You have done your part, and Judge Leon has done his.
    I wonder if the peculiar concept of “justice” that has wrapped itself around the detainees in this war on terror will be extended to the judge’s most current decision. What would we call it? The end justifies the means?
    I am always reminded of the speech put in the mouth of Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons.” The one about “would you cut down the laws to get at the devil?”
    More power to you, Brother Pat.

  3. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I read the Reasons for Judgement, Judge Leon has done a superb analysis at the issue before the Court. Hope he is not reversed.

  4. Matthew says:

    All: Some days a jurist makes you proud to be a lawyer. This is one of those days.

  5. joe brand says:

    On a still-more-positive note, the ruling has upset John Yoo:

  6. Alba Etie says:

    Its refreshing to see the checks and balances actually really working in our system .

  7. Pat,
    The story about the habeus case you mentioned was also inspiring. It’s glad to see that sometimes there’s a happy ending to some of our nation’s mistakes.

  8. Richard Armstrong says:

    Eventually the decision will be overruled by the Roberts court. Mark my words. Examine their rulings on Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, Holder v. Shelby County, Gonzales v. Carhart.
    Justices Thomas and Scalia have taken expensive gifts (Money, vacations, and material possessions) from groups appearing in front of their court. These “gifts” appear to be the quid in a quid pro quo, as these groups have virtually always received rulings in their favor from the Justices who they gave “gifts” to.
    They are ultra conservative, pawns of the far right and have shown an amazing lack of respect for the U.S. Constitution.
    Klayman v. Obama will be overturned by another 5 to 4 decision. Mark my words.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Reminds me of the If Castle and Edmund Dantes – a.k.a. The Count of Monte Cristo.

  10. oofda says:

    And remember, Yoo was the Bush administration lawyer who decided that what the military had considered (as well as prosecuted people under) for decades as torture, was actually not torture and was acceptable. Two days after taking office, Obama signed an Executive Order revoking all guidance issued by Yoo and his ilk in the Office of Legal Counsel.
    Remember that an Office of Professional Responsibility report concluded that Yoo had “committed ‘intentional professional misconduct’ when he advised the CIA it could proceed with waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques.
    That alone should disqualify Yoo from making pronouncments about court rulings..much less practicing law.

  11. jon says:

    A rare and welcome win for the Constitution in the DC Circuit. I can’t imagine that Justice won’t appeal, sadly. Congratulations on your work, Col., to get that fellow released from the limbo of Guantanamo.

  12. Medicine Man says:

    If John Yoo is upset by this then I’m going to file that under “bedeviling the right people”.

  13. joe brand says:

    Or look at Scalia’s dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. This is a cheap shot.

  14. Norbert M Salamon says:

    to those who might find it interesting, Mr. Greenwald’s testimony to the EU parliament [approx. 1 hour] is on RT.com now.

  15. The Twisted Genius says:

    Judge Leon’s decision is a significant step in restoring our constitutional rights. By itself, I fear it would be overturned by the Supreme Court and forgotten. However, Leon’s decision is just one of many steps in the struggle. A review panel established by Obama just released its report on the NSA. It recommended no government storing of US person phone and and internet records, no government mandated backdoors in communication systems, no undermining of global encryption standards and no stockpiling of zero day exploits. This reinforces the IT industry and congressional efforts to curb the surveillance state.

  16. Tyler says:

    Or the pretzel the Roberts Court twisted itself into to justify the ACA.
    Your guy could stop this tomorrow if he wanted – its laughable but expected you think Scalia is the problem.

  17. robt willmann says:

    Here is the video of the appearance, via a video link, by Glenn Greenwald before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs, which I think occurred today, 18 December–
    It is one hour long.
    When it comes to the “European Union”, this is the pot calling the kettle black. The tracking of Internet use and data retention about it in the EU is very intrusive, as well as of telephone use.

  18. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Once Turkey also had decent judiciary. No longer. It is, however, poetic justice that the smear apparatus used to jail Turkish Army officers are now being used against the erdogan regime. His days are numbered.
    Here are a few links:
    erdogan’s claims of “smears” are exactly applicable to the fake investigations and kangaroo courts that convicted those officers. The “democracy lovers” who applauded those convictions should feel ashamed of themselves. They are either deluded fools or kleptocrats.
    The tayyip regime has other distinctions. They jailed the most journalists, again with false evidence.
    Things will be interesting in Turkey over the next five years.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  19. Judge Leon stayed his own ruling allowing time for review!

  20. nick b says:

    I live around the corner from John Yoo’s high school alma mater. When they moved the campus out here the area couldn’t handle the traffic. The school built a rotary/traffic circle to help. It’s no help, in fact it’s worse. I like to refer to it as the ‘John C. Yoo rotary’ for bringing this little bit of traffic torture into our neighborhood.

  21. lauld45@yahoo.com says:

    I have to be the pessimist since this happens so rarely. But, Pat, the case must have been a lift for your spirits.

  22. Medicine Man says:

    I dunno Tyler. I think this might be an issue where the Executive and the Judiciary are in harmony. I will be happy if proven wrong though.

  23. robt willmann says:

    Perhaps in response to Judge Leon’s ruling and written decision, the Obama White House released the 303-page report of the president’s “review group” on intelligence and communications technologies, which can be found here–
    The 48 recommendations are on pages 26-44 of the pdf format file and on pages 24-42 of the report.
    What is important about the recommendations and the problem with them is what they are silent on and do not recommend be done.
    For example, number five says that “legislation should be enacted that terminates the collection of bulk telephony meta-data by the government under section 215 [of the Anti-Patriot Act]….” Notice the weasel words, “under section 215”. This does not prevent the collection of bulk telephony meta-data under some other statute, so-called “executive order”, or a secret interpretation of a law that we are not allowed to see.
    Furthermore, we are assuming that the real meaning of the word “collection” is being used in the recommendation, and not the secret, fraudulent definition cooked up and used by the NSA and others in which collecting is not collecting, but instead means to look at or to listen to something that was acquired earlier.

  24. Tyler says:

    Oh, I believe they are in harmony. I was just dismissing Armstrong’s belief that Scalia and Thomas were the main drivers behind this nonsense so he could avoid committing Crimethink.

  25. Alba Etie says:

    I guess he will have to go cry on David Addington’s shoulders

  26. Alba Etie says:

    Merry Christmas Ishmael Zechariah . And a Safe & Bountiful 2014 .

  27. Facts are never reviewed by Appellate Courts only the legal conclusions!

  28. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Alba Etie,
    Thank you. Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year to you and yours, and to all of the Good, Honorable and Brave members of the SCT. There will be a day, I hope, when such folks will again have their proper station in this world.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  29. turcopolier says:

    “Facts are never reviewed by Appellate Courts only the legal conclusions!” Yes, but the DC Circuit court of appeals has repeatedly overturned habeas release orders from district court judges. pl

  30. Habeas filings somewhat unique since Constitutionally derived and last I heard the Constitution the law of the land.
    But you are correct!

  31. Alba Etie says:

    Good day IZ
    I have been attempting to understand current situation in your country . I have googled as best I can Fetuall Gulen (?) . Is Gulen a salafist radical ? It appears that Mrs R2P Clinton is supported by Gulen . Is it the fundamentalist Islamist having a factional fight? Wasn’t it Gulen ‘s outfit – behind the scene’s going after the Turkish Military General Officer Corp ?
    And yes a Healthy , Prosperous New Year to the entire SST community ( Where the hell did 2013 go anyway )

  32. Richard Armstrong says:

    I appreciate you covering my six.

  33. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Alba Etie,
    This is off-topic for this thread. Here is a short summary: Gulen is the leader of bunch of unprincipled cultists who reject the secular Republic of Turkey. The salafists do not consider them Muslims. You can compare him to David Koresh or Jim Jones. He is a supreme liar and dissembler. He is also under the protection of the intelligence services of the USA. Here is Fethullah Gulen in his own words:
    “You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers. . . . Until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria, . . . like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. . . . The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it. . . . You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey . . . . Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence . . . trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here, [just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.”
    Here are some links:
    You can draw your own conclusions.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  34. Alba Etie says:

    Irony alert

  35. Alba Etie says:

    Thanks – so Gulen is a cultist kool aid dispenser that US Intelligence is protecting – what could possibly go wrong ?

  36. Alba Etie says:

    Or maybe curl up in Steve Cambone’s lap and have a good bawl there ..

  37. Tyler says:

    Oh I picked up on that.
    I appreciate you covering my six. 😉

  38. Alba Etie says:

    I thought you might have – I find disagreeing without being disagreeable is a disciplined practice, and irony does help .

Comments are closed.