Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I felt pretty good about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal district court. My feeling has always been that the United States justice system has a long history of being up to the biggest challenge, and that if it isn't than there is no point to pretending that the United States is any different than the worst sort of totalitarian government. It has been my suspicion that the reason the Bush Administration refused to make our courts available for this purpose was that the Bush Administration was afraid of both the revelations that such a trial would bring to the surface and of losing.

So I reckoned that we were looking pretty good on this, until I read Dahlia Lithwick's article about the argument before Canada's Supreme Court on the question of whether the Canadian government should government seek repatriation of Omar Khadr, a Canadian national presently held at Guantanamo Bay. And then I watched the argument. (Actually, I played it while I made this Alsace Onion Tart.) We have a lot of ground to make up in the US Court system is what I'm saying. First of all, this argument was conducted in public and televised so that every Canadian, and everyone else in the world could see it. The Justices and the lawyers engaged in a profound and far-reaching discussion that encompassed Canadian and international law. The level of advocacy was tremendous. Frankly, I cannot imagine something like this happening in an American court, and I only hope that we will get there some day.

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