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 Post subject: HEADS UP! Bush Pushes for ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL COURT NOMINEE
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:00 pm 
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Administration Again Pushing Anti-Environmental Court Nominee

For more than two years now, the Bush administration has been seeking to place the Pentagon's top lawyer, William Haynes II, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (see BushGreenwatch, 12/18/03 and 3/16/04). Haynes' nomination stalled for various reasons, but the Bush team is nothing if not persistent.

With crucial congressional elections less than five months away, the administration is under increasing pressure from its right wing base to stack the federal bench with more of their kind of guy. As a key player in developing the Pentagon's military tribunal plan for suspected terrorists (which the Supreme Court firmly tossed out last month) Haynes definitely fits the bill. Hence his nomination is again before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this afternoon.

Also active in proposing ways the U.S. could circumvent international treaties banning torture, as well as supporting indefinite detentions of American citizens without benefit of legal counsel or meaningful judicial review, Haynes came to the attention of environmental advocates early in the Bush administration with what will surely stand as one of the strangest arguments in the history of environmental law.

Seeking an exemption from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in order to enable the military to resume bombing on a remote Pacific island as part of live-fire training exercises, Haynes prepared a legal brief arguing that even though the island is an important nesting site for such migratory birds as great frigate birds, red-footed boobies and Pacific golden plovers, bird lovers should have no problem with the bombing.

Indeed, argued the Haynes brief, conservationists would actually benefit from the destruction of such birds, because it makes the birds rarer - and "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one." Moreover, Haynes noted, the bombing is good for the birds, too - because it keeps the island free of other "human intrusion."

Somehow the Haynes logic did not fare well. A federal judge ruled against the military in 2002. The judge's decision included one particularly memorable line: "The Court hopes that the federal government will refrain from making such frivolous arguments in the future." [1]

If the Senate Judiciary Committee approves Haynes' nomination, his name could come up for a vote in the full Senate as soon as this summer.

You can send a message to Congress on this important issue on Friends of the Earth’s web site. Take Action!

Postscript: Although Haynes' argument lost in Federal court, the Bush administration promptly moved its allies in Congress to exempt the Pentagon from compliance with the law anyway. And on his Senate questionnaire back in 2003, Haynes described his bird-bombing effort as the second most significant case of his career.



Also, the Haynes hearing may be webcast at www.capitolhearings.org click on SD-226 link at or around 2:15 pm EST, Tuesday, July 11.

Link: http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000314.php

Catherine

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:07 am 
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Senator Schumer is on the Judicial Committee, so I have already called his office. (Thank you Working Assets for those free Citizens Calls.)

Didn't remember the part about bird lovers being happier spotting a rare bird--I remember when it happened and was appalled! So this is THAT guy, eh?

I will email Schumer and Clinton and include that part in the message.

Thank you Catherine!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:27 am 
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060712/ap_on_go_co/senate_judges

Haynes fights to save judgeship nomination

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Jul 11, 8:44 PM ET

WASHINGTON - An architect of the Bush administration's policy toward detainee treatment, which has since been abandoned, struggled Tuesday to save his nomination to an appellate judgeship.

William Haynes told the Senate panel the policy reversal was "the right thing to do."

It wasn't clear whether Haynes' revised outlook on treatment of detainees solidified already shaky Senate support for his nomination.

Away from the hearing room, Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada left open the prospect of blocking Haynes' nomination with a filibuster.

Haynes told the panel he was glad the Justice Department reversed an opinion he had requested that cleared the way for the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Requesting the opinion as the Pentagon's top lawyer in 2002 "was a mistake," Haynes told the panel. He said he regretted basing his request on hypothetical — rather than actual — situations involving detainees who might have information about future terrorist attacks.

The Justice Department first issued an opinion that appeared to condone controversial prisoner treatment. The Pentagon adopted a policy that allowed several techniques, including the use of dogs to break down the resistance of recalcitrant prisoners.

In 2004, the department withdrew the opinion, saying any such treatment of detainees the opinion appeared to condone would violate President Bush's policy against torturing prisoners.

"I think it was the right thing to do," Haynes said of the policy's withdrawal. "I'm glad it's not on the books now."

The session came on the same day that the Bush administration, pressured by Congress after the Supreme Court blocked military tribunals, said all detainees at Guantanamo Bay and in U.S. military custody everywhere are entitled to human rights protections under the Geneva Conventions.

Haynes' nomination was not clear of trouble.

Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said afterward he had not yet decided whether to vote for Haynes' confirmation. And Reid cited a letter by 20 retired military officers strongly opposing sending Haynes to the court in Richmond, Va.

Three Republican members of the so-called "Gang of 14" senators, who have significant say in whether controversial nominations survive, also have expressed concern about Haynes' nomination. They are Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine.

Meanwhile, a separate letter by four retired Army judge advocates urged the Judiciary Committee to approve Haynes's nomination. They said Haynes's two decades of service in the Army and the Pentagon had produced an exemplary record.


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