In his March 13 column, Ellis Washington delves into the case of Department of Justice lawyers who allegedly at one point provided legal services to terrorism detainees the way he delves into pretty much everything else -- hurling smears and getting stuff wrong.
Washington smears Attorney General Eric Holder has a "terrorist-sympathizer." He also tries to reframe the issue all the way over into thought-crime territory, insisting: "The central question regarding the al-Qaida 7 is not whether it is permissible or even expedient for DOJ lawyers to represent the obviously guilty, because under our system of laws, criminals are entitled to counsel, but why did they do it?"
Washington then cites Ken Starr's statement that "You do not impute the causes of the client to the lawyer who is called upon to make sure that that client's rights are being protected," then irrelevantly adds: "Really, Dean Starr? Where is that idea found in the Constitution?"
Washington also asserts that "Giving constitutional rights to avowed Muslim terrorists is merely a means to Obama's diabolical ends to purposely destabilize American society, thus setting the pretext to eventually create a one-party oligarchy." Aside from Washington's anti-constitution portrayal of the detainees as being exempt from the presumption of innocence and his insertion of yet another Obama smear, constitutional rights aren't the only rights at issue, and those lawyers have received some court victories.
As Media Matters notes, two of the lawyers represented six Bosnian-Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, and a court found that the Bush administration had violated Guantánamo detainees' constitutional right to present habeas corpus petitions to civilian courts. Another lawyer represented a detainee in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which found that the Bush administration had violated the Geneva Conventions in its handling of detainees.
Washington also rants against the 1963 Gideon case, in which the Supreme Court found that the government is required to pay for lawyers for defendants who cannot afford one:
For too long society has given self-aggrandizing lawyers and the American Bar Association the moral high ground to represent irredeemable characters of the vilest ilk in the name of the Constitution, but these new traditions, like the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of an attorney, did not include the right for "We the People" to provide an attorney for these unrepentant terrorists at taxpayers expense until 1963.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In this case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own attorneys. Allowing a defendant an attorney and paying for a defendant to have an attorney are two very different philosophies of jurisprudence.
Sounds like Washington really does want to eliminate the presumption of innocence.