Thursday, December 18, 2003


What do you do with an attorney heads a legal team that argues that it's good for conservationists if the military bombs an important nesting island for migratory birds in the Pacific because it helps make some species more rare -- and "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one?" And who argues that bombing was good for the birds too, as it kept the island free of other "human intrusion?"

Put him on the Comedy Channel? Sign him up to work for The Onion?

If you're the Bush Administration, you nominate him for a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. William Haynes II's is general counsel for the Defense Department, the military's top lawyer and leader of the team that made this argument.

Fortunately, a federal judge was not amused:
A federal judge ruled against the military in 2002, saying "there is absolutely no support in the law for the view that environmentalists should get enjoyment out of the destruction of natural resources ... . The Court hopes that the federal government will refrain from making or adopting such frivolous arguments in the future."
Unfortunately, according to Bush Greenwatch,
His nomination hearing was held Nov. 18 and he awaits a Senate Judiciary Committee vote. On his Senate questionnaire, Haynes listed the bird case as the second most significant case of his career. (
Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) has strongly hinted that Haynes may join the list of filibustered judicial nominations mainly because of his important role as the architect of the Administration's policy of holding U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without access to attorneys. This policy was overturned today when a federal appeals court ruled that President Bush does not have the power to declare an American citizen seized on U.S. soil an "enemy combatant" and hold him indefinitely in military custody.

Sounds like the President could use another friend on the bench.