Friday, March 05, 2010

no, Ken Silverstein, it's not

A surprisingly obtuse post today from a normally clear-eyed Ken Silverstein:
TPM ran an item yesterday in which American Bar Association President Carolyn Lamm made an emotional plea on behalf of the principle of legal representation for all. In response “to the Liz Cheney Web ad that questions the loyalty of lawyers who have represented Guantanamo detainees,” Lamm, reported TPM, said that lawyers have an ethical obligation to “provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government–even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt.”

Of course, Lamm also strongly believes in the principle of providing legal representation to governments who have committed well-documented heinous crimes against people who stand alone against state power — as long as they pay cash.

Take, for example, Lamm’s own work on behalf of Libya, the former Zaire and Uzbekistan. Her client in the latter case is Gulnara Karimova, bosom buddy of rock star Sting and Bill Clinton. Gulnara’s daddy, Islam, rules Uzbekistan and has a nasty habit of killing his political opponents, in one case by immersion in boiling water.

Lamm’s position is confusing, but one thing is clear: Liz Cheney is not one of her clients.

Actually, her willingness to represent or defend the representation of both Gitmo detainees and oppressive foreign governments shows that she really does believe the system works best when everyone gets fair representation, no matter who they are or how their position jives with her political agenda. What is Silverstein's accusation, that she'll defend anyone if the price is right (otherwise known as "the job description of a defense attorney")?

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