February 9, 2009

*Sigh* [6:30 pm]

Political Punch: Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Lawsuit [via Glenn Greenwald]

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition — including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

A year ago the case was thrown out on the basis of national security, but today the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal, brought by the ACLU.

A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn’t changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret.

The ACLU press release: Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy In Extraordinary Rendition Case

Later: Obama Backs Off a Reversal on Secrets (pdf) - getting close to “owning it.”

Hear the oral arguments for 08-15693. Also, see Holder try to stem the negative reaction with this: Attorney general orders review of state secret claims (pdf)

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