Yesterday, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, Charles D. "Cully" Stimson, suggested a way to expedite legal proceedings for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Paying clients should fire the detainees’ lawyers, many of them from major U.S. law firms.
Mr. Stimson implied that law firms’ pro bono work for detainees reflects a lack of patriotism and shows insensitivity to the losses that companies suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks. "I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms."
Mr. Stimson, a lawyer, also hinted that some law firms may receive payments from terrorists or sympathizers while pretending to do the work for free. "Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that."
What explains Mr. Stimson’s scorn towards lawyers who represent terror suspects for free? His birth into wealth and privilege? His legal education at George Mason? That he’s never practiced outside government? That Donald Rumsfeld chose him? Or did Cully just forget to take his meds?
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