(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

More on Hamdi Last week I pointed out, in decidedly un-kneejerk fashion I might add, that the government's refusal to produce information about detainee Hamdi, as the judge had ordered, was not too remarkable from a purely procedural point of view. Today's further report from the Post suggests that this District Judge knows precisely what to do when faced with a recalcitrant party (even if it's the government) that refuses to provide information: grill them, and make them reasonably fear that, if they continue to refuse to provide meaningful information, you will simply draw every reasonable factual inference against them. (After all, if the information would have helped the government's case, they surely would have produced it pursuant to the Court's order; and so the Court can reasonably infer that the withheld information would not be sufficient to support the government's position). This, rather than getting constitutionally wigged-out about an executive-judicial showdown, is the proper judicial response to executive arrogance in this instance, I think. It's what any of us, in private practice would face if we tried to pull rank on a U.S. District Judge, refusing even to treat the Court with enough respect to give straight answers to its questions at oral argument; and it's nice to see a court in which the government seems to be subject to the same rules.

posted by sam 11:16 AM 0 comments


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