Aug 072011
 August 7, 2011  Posted by  Court, U.S.

From the it’s-not-new-but-it-still-sucks dept:

Scott Greenfield writes:

Now that everything’s changed, and the war against terrorism demands that all our nastiness falls under the doctrine of state secrets (for our own good), the nature of litigation is taking a turn as well.  As the 9th Circuit prepares to hear argument in Jewel v. National Security Agency, the government is making sure that the judges are good boys and don’t spill any beans.  From Politico:

On Wednesday, Justice Department Attorney H. Thomas Byron sent the court a letter (posted here) essentially warning the judges that since the argument is taking place in a courtroom open to the public the court should be careful not to discuss any national security secrets during the session.

“All classified information has been provided to the Court with the understanding that the secrecy of this information will be properly protected,” Byron said. “We are prepared to argue this case publicly, in an open courtroom, without referring to any classified information….If the Court has questions about the classified information in the record, we are prepared to address those questions in an appropriate secure environment with only the judges, cleared court personnel, and the attorneys for the government present, to ensure appropriate safeguards against disclosure.”

Wait, you say.  What about the plaintiff’s lawyers being able to offer argument, part of that whole “due process” thing they keep talking about in the Constitution?  Heh.  Don’t get your panties in a twist, as it’s not like the plaintiff’s lawyers were allowed to see the government’s secret brief anyway.  That was for judge’s eyes only.

Read more on Simple Justice.

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