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Hamdan Hearings on C-Span3


Some of us are watching the Senate Judiciary Committee Hamdan hearings this morning on C-Span3.  Thus far, Administration witnesses have been testifying, and the Senators on the committee are now asking questions of them.  (Specter has instituted an "early bird" rule, allowing those Senators who arrive early to ask questions first.  Guess he got tired of some folks being tardy…I love that he’s just announced it on air.  hehehe)

Anyway, Prof had a great summary of the Specter questioning (of Bradbury from DoJ, as opposed to Dell’Orto from DoD):

Specter: Should statements obtained under torture (not his word) be automatically excluded during trials:

Shorter Bradbury: (no)

Specter: What burden of proof should be used?

Bradbury: That’s a policy question, but not necessarily a “preponderance of evidence,” perhaps only “substantial evidence.”

TRANSLATION: A “substantial evidence” standard means “just a bit more than nothing.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions is whining his demogoguary out to the world now. Pardon me while I get myself another cup of coffee…(shorter Sessions: Terrorists…scary…run…run…screw the law, hang ’em high…save me, mommy.).

And now on to Dianne Feinstein…I’ll update as I hear something worth transcribing.  The peanut is home with me this morning, so I really appreciate everyone else taking notes in the comments on what is going on as well, so that we can all keep up with the hearing together.

Via Kyl’s questions:  Dell’Orto: Court-martial proceedings go well beyond what is required for our civil proceedings.  "It would be ludicrous to apply those protestcions to these people who would get far less in terms of protections in their home countries."

(CHS:  I just want to say if we are deciding what rights someone gets by comparing our system to others around the globe, we are in big trouble.  This isn’t "we’re a lot better than a country that chops people’s hands off for stealing."  This is "are we living up to our own standards of justice and liberty.")

Now onto Sen. Kohl (D-WI).  Kohl simply got the witnesses to say the Administraion really looks forward to working with Congress.  (CHS:  because they’ve done sucha  fabu job of that for the last five years and all…*rolls eyes*)

Onto Hatch…Shorter Hatch:  Wow, I sure think Addington and Yoo are fabu.

(As reader Dratty says:

Hatch is full of crap as is the DoD lawyer. There are procedures in BOTH CIVILIAN AND MILITARY TRIALS for the protection of classified information. As a matter of fact, in past civilian trials, certain lawyers were excluded because they couldn’t obtain clearances that allowed them to see classified information that would be used against their clients and those that did get clearances were duty-bound NOT to reveal it to their clients, if the clients were not cleared.

To even suggest that any Art. 32 proceding that involved classifed information would result in that info being broadcast all over the world is just an out and out lie. there are protections in the UCMJ to address just that issue. (and I’m sorry I can’t give the cite right now.)

People who have not dealt with classified information might not know these provisions (the CIPA provisions and others) exist. Wanted to be sure that this wasn’t lost in the comments.)

Feingold is now lambasting the Bush Administration for not listening to any dissent about their poor choices. The Administration witnesses are filibustering answers so that Feingold’s time gets run out. Pathetic.

Shorter Cornyn:  blah…blah…blah…Administration talking points…blah…blah…blah…

Shorter Biden:  I talk a lot, but the Administration has royally screwed things up, and I’m peeved.  As are Americans who care about the Constitution.  Stop screwing up, and start listening to dissent or you are going to be sorry.

Shorter Huckleberry:  What Biden said.  Maybe you guys should actually read the UCMJ.  I’m just sayin…  (Oh, and I’m pretending like I didn’t lie to the SCOTUS.)

Shorter Kennedy:  You are making a mockery of the very values that we preach to the rest of the world regarding liberty and democracy and rule of law.  Shame on you.  And you debase the legacy that we leave to generations to come.  (Kennedy’s statement was great, and I hope to find a transcription of them — will try to get something from his office…)

Sen. Durbin:  Great job, from what I could hear from the depths of a Tinkerbell tent in our living room.  (Yep, sometimes momma duties come first.)  Same with Schumer, whose opening points were pointed and direct and quite clear in their statement that the President doesn’t get to just make shit up by himself.  (Would have been nice had Congress asserted this…oh, say, five years ago.  But hey, better late than…erm…oh, forget it.)

Leahy’s second round of questions was quite good as well — pinning them down on specifics.  For a man with a cold, Leahy is sharpening things down a bit.

Sen. Hatch thinks that the detainees at Gitmo are having a grand time.  (as *ilson says, "they didn’t waterboard Hatch while he was visiting?  Quelle surprise!")  Dianne Feinstein mutters "not quite true" to Hatch’s glowing description of Gitmo.  (CHS: Some days I wonder how the two political parties can ever get anything done when they can’t even see the world or the facts for what they are…everything, EVERYTHING, is politics, and nothing is about actually doing the job.  Pathetic.)

Schumer’s second round concentrates on why the Administration didn’t anticipate problems with their pushing the envelope.  DoJ attorney still doesn’t see what they did as pushing the legal envelope.  (CHS:  perhaps that is the problem, precedent means nothing except for that precedent that agrees with what they want to do…jeebus.)

Graham follows up with Geneva Convention rationale 101.  And a dose of Huckleberry wisdom — "we need to act in accordance with our values, sure, but we should also be able to short-cut our values if there is a practical need to do so."  Aw, shucks.

Every time Hatch gets his butt in the power chair, he takes over the mike and decides to use it to promote his own agenda and that of Cheney and Addington.  Tool.

Panel #2 is starting.  Thus far, it seems like this will be the Administration supporters panel, including Ted Olson, former US Soliciter General in Bush’s first term.  They’ll be doing opening statements shortly.  Hatch is doing intros…  (Okay, so I wrote this while they were showing Olson, but the panel turns out to be fairly balanced.  And worth a watch.)

Hearing recessed until 2:15 pm ET.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com