Slate: The Obama administration has picked the worst possible case for its first torture trial


Dahlia Lithwick
Slate
December 16, 2009

For close to a year now, the Obama administration has been playing judicial Whac-a-Mole over accountability for Bush administration torture policies. Each time an opportunity arises to assess the legality of Bush-era torture, the Obama administration shuts it down. When another case pops up, the administration slaps it down. This all started last February when the Justice Department invoked the alarming "states secrets" privilege in an effort to shut down an ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in Bush’s "extraordinary rendition" program. (That case will be reheard at the 9th Circuit tomorrow).

[efoods]Since then, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has worked tirelessly to shutter or pre-empt torture litigation in cases ranging from a civil suit against former Bush lawyer John Yoo filed by Jose Padilla, (in which the Obama administration has now taken the position that Justice Department lawyers’ advice on torture issues should have absolute immunity from lawsuits) to shifting its position on the release of torture photos.

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