"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."
Some guy named Cully Stimson would apparently like to repeal that last infinitive phrase, if not the entire amendment. That wouldn't matter if Stimson were just some wingnut. But he's not just a wingnut. He's a lawyer, which means he ought to be familiar with the Sixth Amendment. Worse, he's the deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of detainee affairs. In this case, "detainee" is a euphemism for someone being imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism.
Why do I say that this guy is hostile to the Sixth Amendment? Here's what he said in a radio interview the other day, as quoted by the Washington Post:
Actually you know I think the news story that you're really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request through a major news organization, somebody asked, "Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there," and you know what, it's shocking...
... I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.
Who are these firms with the audacity to provide assistance of counsel to prisoners under Stimson's thumb? According to the WSJ Law Blog, Stimson identified the following (whom I'm happy to salute with a mention and a link):
- Pillsbury Winthrop
- Jenner & Block
- Covington & Burling
- Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
- Mayer Brown
- Paul Weiss
- Weil Gotshal
- Pepper Hamilton
- Perkins Coie
- Alston & Bird
- Hunton & Williams
- Fulbright & Jaworski
The Washington Post described Stimson's words as "repellant," and says that "it's shocking — though perhaps not surprising — that this is the person the administration has chosen to oversee detainee policy at Guantanamo."