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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Editorials and Opinion


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State Bar should discipline William J. Haynes (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 05/14/09)
Op-Ed by Carlos Villarreal & Sharon Adams

Torture memos and pictures: From leaks to torrents (Westport News [CT], 05/01/09)
Columnist Emanuel Margolis: "Sadly, the shield against criminal prosecution of the dissemblers at the highest levels of government was forged by lawyers. These include ...Donald Rumsfeld's former counsel, William Haynes; and the authors of the Justice Department memoranda justifying torture: John Yoo, Steven Bradbury and Jay Bybee. Mr. Bybee was rewarded for his illegal conduct and disservice to his country by being nominated to fill a vacancy on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Ten Ways to Bring the Bush Administration's Torture Ten to Justice (and One Way to Avoid) (Huffington Post, 04/28/09)
Michael Kieschnick & Becky Bond column includes: "The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers, should draw up articles of impeachment for federal appellate court judge Jay Bybee, the author of some of the worst torture memoranda. ... All lawyers who helped create the legal architecture for the illegal torture program -- including Jay Bybee, John Yoo, William J. Haynes II and David Addington to name the most prominent -- should be disbarred. ... Consumers and stockholders should not stand by and allow any publicly held company to hire a member of the Torture Ten, especially in the position of legal counsel. Chevron for example has done this with Pentagon torture architect William J. Haynes II who bears responsibility for the abuses at Abu Ghraib."

Lawrence Wilkerson: Disbar The Bush Lawyers And Get A Special Prosecutor For The Rest (Huffington Post, 04/27/09)
Sam Stein: "Colin Powell's former chief of staff [Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson] called on Friday for a special prosecutor to be appointed and "armed to the teeth" to investigate the authorization of torture by Bush administration officials. He also stated that the lawyers involved in drafting the "torture memos" should be disbarred. ... "First, the lawyers," he wrote. "I feel that [Alberto] Gonzales, [David] Addington, [John] Yoo, [Jay] Bybee, [Defense Department General Counsel William J.] Haynes and [Douglas] Feith should be, at a minimum, disbarred... "

Over the Cut: Time for accountability for those behind US 'torture' tactics (Gloucester Daily Times [MA] , 04/24/09)
Columnist Tim Halsted: "The release of the Justice Department memoranda will almost certainly result in legal proceedings against the lawyers who wrote them, for knowingly advocating criminal acts. There are calls to impeach Bybee, now a federal judge. But merely prosecuting the lawyers will hardly satisfy the need to bring closure. ...It's likely that there will indeed be further prosecutions and congressional hearings. ... William Haynes ... all need to answer for their roles in condoning torture."

Impeach Jay Bybee (Harper's, 04/20/09)
Scott Horton: "Jay Bybee’s secret was that he had given the green light to torture, issuing a series of professionally incompetent memoranda for the purpose of inducing recalcitrant CIA agents to use techniques which have been universally understood to be torture since the Middle Ages. Bybee must have known that if these facts came out, his nomination would be over—just as his fellow torture-memo writer William J. Haynes II’s nomination to the Fourth Circuit was termed “dead on arrival.” ... the case of a judge, nothing could be more fundamental than conduct suggesting that he holds the rule of law in contempt. That is plainly the case with Jay Bybee."

Wishful Thinking (Roll Call, 03/09/09)
Published Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli responding to a letter about his Feb. 9 Guest Observer column: "GOP Payback on Court Nominees Is Hard to Justify."

Guest Observer: GOP Payback on Court Nominees Is Hard to Justify (Roll Call, 02/09/09)
Lengthy Op-Ed by Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli detailing objective problems that justified failure to confirm all of Bush’s nominees. "Any fair evaluation of the Senate’s review of Bush’s judicial nominations can only argue for confirmation of qualified" Obama nominees.

Impeach Jay Bybee: Why should a suspected war criminal serve as a federal judge? (, 01/13/09)
Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman: "The House should open an impeachment inquiry that moves beyond Bybee's invocation of executive privilege and explores the facts in a comprehensive fashion."

The Torture Report  (New York Times, 12/17/08)
Editorial: "a bipartisan report by the Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials."

Bush's top general quashed torture dissent: New evidence shows that despite warnings from across the military, former Gen. Richard Myers shut down legal scrutiny of brutal interrogation tactics. (, 06/30/08)
"Dalton testified that Myers ordered her to stop that review because of a request from Pentagon general counsel William Haynes. Haynes was spearheading Rumsfeld's efforts to set up a harsh-interrogation program at the Pentagon. "The best of my recollection as to how this occurred is that the chairman called me aside and indicated to me that Mr. Haynes did not want this broad-based review to take place," Dalton testified. "When I learned that Mr. Haynes did not want that broad-based legal and policy review to take place, then I stood down from the plans."

Move to torture started at the top  (News Tribune [WA] , 06/22/08)
Editorial: William "Haynes and Addington were among the five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who dubbed themselves the “War Council” and were largely responsible for the legal framework that allowed the abuse of detainees. Their legal interpretations – many of which have since been rejected by courts – circumvented international laws and the military’s own code of justice. Military lawyers who objected to the new policies were ignored."

Tables Turn: The Interrogators Face Interrogation  (Justice Watch, 06/18/08)
"Given his participation in the development and approval of cruel interrogation methods that clearly contravene U.S. and international law, and his unrepentant stance yesterday, it seems obvious that Haynes would have brought that same lack of compassion and regard for the rule of law with him to the Fourth Circuit."

Abu Ghraib? Doesn't Ring a Bell. (Washington Post, 06/18/08)
Dana Milbank: "If ever there was a case that cried out for enhanced interrogation techniques, it was yesterday's Senate appearance by the Pentagon's former top lawyer. William "Jim" Haynes II, the man who blessed the use of dogs, hoods and nudity to pry information out of recalcitrant detainees, proved to be a model of evasion himself as he resisted all attempts at inquiry by the Armed Services Committee.... It was the most public case of memory loss since Alberto Gonzales, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, forgot everything he ever knew about anything. And, like Gonzales, Haynes (who, denied a federal judgeship by the Senate, left the Pentagon in February for a job with Chevron) had good reason to plead temporary senility."

Covering up the truthThe sanctioning of torture at Guantanamo is a story not only of abuse and crime but also of a cover-up by the US administration (Guardian News and Media, 06/17/08)
Philippe Sands on William J. Haynes II: "My conclusion, taking into account my conversations with Mr Haynes, is that he was able to adopt that approach because by then – contrary to the impression he sought to create when he appeared before this committee – he had knowledge of the contents of the DOJ legal memos written by Jay Bybee and John Yoo on 1 August 2002."

'Ends-obsessed' Bush administration has no moral bearings (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 05/18/08)
Robyn Blumner: William Haynes, the Pentagon's general counsel at the time, made it clear to Davis that acquittals would not be tolerated. Haynes was also a key figure in recommending abusive interrogation techniques, causing his nomination to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be derailed by Democrats in Congress.

Showdown over federal judges looming (The Tribune's Washington Bureau, 05/01/08)
The Tribune's Washington Bureau: "What's at stake? In the Fourth Circuit, quite a bit."

Surrendering the rule of law (Washington Times, 03/10/08)
Commentary by Nat Hentoff in the Washington Times discussing former 4th circuit nominee William J. Haynes' role with the Guantanamo Bay trials.

President Bush is creating artificial vacancies (Political Forum, 03/05/08)
Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli post explaining: "How the records of President George W. Bush's judicial selection process and his appellate nominees demonstrate that his nominees were chosen BECAUSE they would not be confirmed. "

Comments to “Trading Barbs over Judgeships” Article  (Legal Times, 03/05/08)
Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli comments on controversial judicial nominations like William Haynes on the Blog of Legal Times article.

Bush Judicial Nominees- Torture, Alice in Wonderland, Shoplifting, Ethics and more (American Constitution Society Blog, 02/29/08)
Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli in American Constitution Society's ACSBlog: "President George W. Bush is demanding that the Senate essentially abandon its constitutionally-mandated “advise-and-consent role” in selecting lifetime judges."

Capital cases in kangaroo courts (Boston Globe, 02/25/08)
Boston Globe Editorial discussed former 4th circuit nominee William J. Haynes's role in the Guantanamo Trials.

Bush nominates judges who he knows won’t be confirmed  (The Hill, 02/07/08)
Op-ed length Letter to the Editor by Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli states, "Bush... is choosing nominees because they will not be confirmed, creating artificial vacancies to inflame his right-wing base."

Heckuva Job: The Unqualified, the Unscrupulous, and the Bush White House (Mother Jones, 10/22/07)
Mother Jones Magazine, by Joshua Kurlantzick, on William Myers and William Haynes

Bush wants ideological fights, not judges  (The Politico, 10/09/07)
The Politico Op-ed by Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli: "All too often, President Bush’s previous and current nominees for lifetime federal judgeships have been chosen precisely because their extreme records will reignite ideological battles, ensuring they will not be confirmed at all or without a major fight."

Fourth Circuit Vacancy Update (Juris Publici, 09/17/07)

Vacancies Affect Other Circuits, Too (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 08/11/07)
Letter to the Editor by Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli on 4th circuit and other vacancies caused by President Bush's pattern of refusing to work with Republican and Democratic home-state Senators and his selection of deliberately provocative nominees.

Vacancies (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 06/30/07)
Editorial on 4th circuit vacancies

For Federal Appellate Judicial Nominations, It's a Time for Pragmatism (Law com, 02/05/07)
Vacanies still exist on federal court seats.

A judicious beginning (St. Petersburg Times [FL] , 01/31/07)
St. Petersburg Times, Editorial, President faces new political reality by withdrawing Myers, Haynes, and Wallace.