Thursday, May 7, 2015

Justice Stevens: U.S. Should Compensate Guantanamo Prisoners Unjustly Held

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John Paul Stevens
Speaking to members of the corporate defense bar group Lawyers for Civil Justice retired Justice John Paul Stevens called for compensation for those held at Guantanamo without cause.  Describing Congress's actions to block closure of Guantanamo as "even more irrational than the detention of Japanese citizens" in WW II Stevens calls for a change in legal doctrine.  
While embracing Justice David Souter's dissent in Ashcroft v. Iqbal Stevens called for a change in doctrine.  Government should be liable under respondeat superior for constitutional violations, while affording personal immunity to policy-makers like Attorney General John Ashcroft who were presumably acting from patriotic impulse even if they "encouraged or tolerated improper efforts to obtain information about potential threats". 
Stevens focused on the 57 Guantánamo detainees approved for transfer out of the facility by federal officials who agree they pose no significant security threat to the United States but are detained by Congressional mandates barring transfer to the United States and permitting transfer to other countries only if it is"in the national security interest of the United States". - gwc

by Justice John Paul Stevens   May 4, 2015
"Fear plays a more important role in the process of making important decisions at the outset of international hostilities than is often recognized. That emotion sometimes leads to erroneous decisions that do far more harm than good. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to approve the mass relocation and
internment of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II is a vivid example of such a decision...."
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