Thursday, April 13, 2017

UPDATED: Now USSC Justice Neil Gorsuch Views on Gitmo Detainees and Torture

Supreme Court Today: 8 of 9 since Justice Scalia's Death

Filling Justice Scalia's vacant seat
(story here (LA TIMES)

The headlines of this story below caught my eye since it ties in directly to the subject of this overall blog. That headlines is: 

Judge Neil Gorsuch helped defend disputed Bush-era terror policies
That is from this fine NY Times article, in part below:
(Note: Judge Gorsuch (bio here) was in the Bush administration at DOJ starting in June 2005 where he served as the principal deputy associate attorney general. That position put him as the top aide to the No. 3 official at DOJ. He left in August 2006 when Mr. Bush appointed him as a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver).
WASHINGTON (NY TIMES) — In December 2005, Congress handed President George W. Bush a significant defeat by tightening legal restrictions against torture in a law called the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA). Soon afterward, Neil M. Gorsuch — then a top Justice Department official — sent an email to a White House colleague in case he needed “cheering up” about the administration’s setback.
(I NOTE: That action — saying the setback was bad — implies to me that Judge Gorsuch did not approve of the DTA that Congress passed - interesting).
The email from Judge Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, linked to articles about a less-noticed provision in the act that undercut the rights of Guantánamo Bay detainees by barring courts from hearing their habeas corpus lawsuits.
“The administration’s victory is not well known but its significance shouldn’t be understated,” wrote Judge Gorsuch, who had helped coordinate the Justice Department’s work with Congress on the bill.
The email about the court-stripping provision — which the Supreme Court later rejected — is among more than 150,000 pages of Bush-era Justice Department and White House documents involving Judge Gorsuch disclosed by the Trump administration ahead of his Senate confirmation hearings next week.
Key parts for me on the issue of “torture – the so-called “enhanced interrogation” methods is this from the article:
The files have not yet been systematically examined, and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have complained that they appear to be incomplete. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s ranking Democrat, sent a letter to Judge Gorsuch this week saying that the committee needs additional documents by 5 p.m. on Thursday (March 16).
For example, her letter noted, one document in the tranche indicated that Judge Gorsuch made a “proposal for a seminar on torture policy” to the Council on Foreign Relations, but the proposal itself was not included in the documents given to the committee. Sen. Feinstein wrote in part: “Please provide to the committee any materials related to any involvement you had in the issue of torture (including so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’), including this proposal (proposal for the CFR seminar – my emphasis added for clarity).”
So, will he be confirmed? Probably. By a close vote or vast majority in the Senate? Uncertain. Hearing starts next week (March 20 – also, the 1st Day of Spring).

Stay tuned.

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