Me Too

I generally don’t like to put up “me too” posts, but I did want to express my agreement with Jonathan Adler’s (and many others’) defense of the Justice Department lawyers who, while in private practice, defended various Guantanamo detainees pro bono.

As I argued in a similar controversy three years ago, I’m sure that the lawyers believed that their actions may (a) reduce the risk of factual error (continued detention of detainees who aren’t really guilty), (b) reduce the risk of legal and constitutional violations (deprivation of what the lawyer thinks are important due process norms), or (c) reduce the possible indirect harm that such erosion of due process norms can cause to others in the future. And they believed that, when a legal process is available — as the Supreme Court has held that it is — the legal system is benefited by having trained, qualified lawyers involved on both sides of the process, so that courts and other tribunals see an adversarial presentation with the best cases made for both sides. The lawyers’ actions were thus well within the longstanding and honorable American tradition of advocating for constitutional rights, even when one’s clients may well be very bad people.