Why Are Obama Lawyers Sticking to the Same Positions as Bush's DOJ?

Investigative reporting website ProPublica has been tracking the lawsuits brought forth against Bush's national security apparatus and, this week, it published its findings thus far. The good news is that it is all put together in a handy chart. The bad news: "In a half-dozen national security lawsuits … the Obama administration has so far largely stuck by the positions taken by the Bush administration."

"These decisions may be a temporary fix that will buy the administration time to think through its views," writes Christopher Weaver. "Or, it could indicate that the new administration simply doesn't want to be squeezed into making policy in the court room."

Among the cases is a habeas petition filed on behalf of four prisoners at Bagram Air Base, in which, last month, lawyers for the Obama administration denied them the right to challenge their detention (a right granted to prisoners at Guantanamo last year). "Having considered the matter," Obama's Department of Justice lawyers said, "the Government adheres to its previously articulated position."

"That position," according to ProPublica, "includes the concept of a global battlefield that would allow indefinite detention of prisoners like the petitioners, who say they were picked up outside Afghanistan, far from any traditional battlefield."

Other important cases include a National Security lawsuit into the the Bush administration's "lost" e-mails (Obama's DOJ is trying have the case thrown out) and the ACLU-led civil suit on behalf of five victims of extraordinary rendition against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. (Obama lawyers stuck to the Bush tactic of asserting the government's "state secrets" privilege in order to block the suit).

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close