Ignored by most media, an array of prominent federal judges, government officials, and other members of the legal establishment has joined in a historic rebellion against George W. Bush's unprecedented and unconstitutional arrogance of power that threatens the fundamental right of American citizens to have access to their lawyers before disappearing indefinitely into military custody without charges, without seeing an attorney or anyone except their guards.
The case, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, is now before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In a compelling friend-of-the-court brief on Padilla's behalf by an extraordinary gathering of the aforementioned former federal court judges, district court judges, and other legal luminaries of the establishment bar, they charge:
"This case involves an unprecedented detention by the United States of an American citizen, seized on American soil, and held incommunicado for more than a year without any charge being filed against him, without any access to counsel, and without any right to challenge the basis of his detention before a United States judge or magistrate . . .
"[We] believe the Executive's position in this case threatens the basic 'rule of law' on which our country is founded, the role of the federal judiciary and the separations in our national government, and fundamental individual liberties enshrined in our Constitution."