Archive for April, 2008

More on Hamdan

For those Con law enthusiasts out there, Salim Hamdan is up for trial again, this time based on the rules laid out in The Military Commissions Act, written by John McCain and Lindsey Graham with the help of Colonel Morris Davis. Col. Davis is the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo who resigned as Chief Prosecutor because he felt the Pentagon was pressuring prosecutors to prosecute high profile detainees before the 2008 election to show the American people that the system is working. See the full Washington Post article here . Now Colonel Davis has said that he will testify for Hamdan to point out that these prosecutions have been “infected with political agendas and corrupted by the Achilles’ heel of military justice — unlawful command influence.”  What makes Col. Davis so interesting is that he believes most of the detainees at Guantanamo are guilty and should be punished, but he objects to the use of classified evidence that the detainee will never see and outside pressure.  Col. Davis’ has thoroughly defended Guantanamo in a NY Times editorial and has vigorously prosecuted many of the detainees at Guantanamo.

So why is he testifying for Hamdan? Because he believes that the Pentagon is exerting political pressure on the prosecutors at Guantanamo and is interfering with these detainees rights under the Military Commissions Act. It’s a shame that there aren’t more officers in the very highest ranks who view the Commissions like Col. Davis. While Davis’ belief that most of the detainees are guilty is not ideal, his insistence that the rules be followed and that these detainees receive all the rights–including an in-court presumption of innocence–they are guaranteed by the Military Commissions Act (and supposedly through that Act, their Geneva protections) is admirable. (Hat tip: WSJ Law Blog)

One more note for a little GW Law pride, Colonel Davis earned a Master of Laws in government procurement law from GW.


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For those of you who don’t read the portal religiously:

Justice Scalia has accepted our invitation to participate in the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition Finals in Lisner Auditorium

This will take place in January 2009 in Lisner Auditorium. He will be joined on the bench by Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, who previously clerked for Justice Scalia.

So all you Scalia fans better practice all summer!


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Yesterday, the NFL finally made an agreement with Matt Walsh, the former member of the Patriots coaching staff, to turn over any tapes he has and to talk with the NFL about the Patriots taping activity in past seasons. In case you haven’t been following this fascinating piece of sports drama, I’ll give a quick sum up. In a game against the NY Jets this season Eric Mangini, the Jets coach and former Patriots assistant coach, accused the Patriots of cheating by filming the signals coaches use to tell their players which plays to run. Though it is against the rules, many teams try to figure out each other’s signals. What they don’t do is tape other teams, which is expressly forbidden in the NFL’s rules. The Patriots and their coach Belichick were punished. Oddly enough, the league decided to destroy all of the evidence, without letting a single non-NFL employee view them.

Fast forward to the Super Bowl and this guy Matt Walsh surfaces in Hawaii (of course, it has to be a little exotic) to say that the league never talked to him, that he was involved in the taping and that he has information and maybe physical proof (see this post from when the story broke). (more…)

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Taking a break from the law and studying, I wanted to share with you all a personal post about Greaster.  This coming Sunday, millions of Orthodox Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate Easter this coming Sunday.  So what is Greaster?  Quite simply, it is Greek Easter.  I know, I know, its not just Greek who celebrate Orthodox Easter, but the word has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Ok, so Greaster.  It’s hard to explain the rich traditions of Greaster in a short blog post, partly because some of the explanations are complex, and partly because in many ways, you just need to experience them to understand.  So, I’ve done the next best thing: I’ve asked movie actress Rita Wilson, who is Greek, to explain it. I found this essay by movie actress Rita Wilson, who is Greek (and married to Tom Hanks in case you didn’t know!) on the traditions of Greek Easter.  She published this essay, last year in the Washington Post, but this year reprinted it on the Huffington Post.  Note again, that although she describes the holiday as Greek Easter, it is in fact celebrated by all the roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.


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Hot or Not

FYI: the GW Health and Wellness Center (aka gym) is open for use by GW Law students over the summer, even those not enrolled in summer classes.  So even though you’ll probably sweat off a few pounds walking to and from work in the summer heat, there’s no excuse for not looking your best for the 1Ls this coming August.

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Announcement from Prof. Banzhaf:

Law students can win a $5000 First Prize, $3000 Second Prize, or a $1000 Third Prize – as well as 30 individual $1000 travel grants to attend a world conference in Washington, DC – by submitting a 1000-word summary of a proposal to protect nonsmokers’ rights by May 16th. (more…)

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Studying for finals is not so much fun, but at least it doesn’t smell like poop:

A foul smell permeating London and parts of England over the past two days is due to farmers on the European continent spreading manure in their fields. The agricultural odor is inescapable in central London and smells vaguely of farmland or even garbage.  Forecasters said a stiff breeze from the east is carrying the smell across the North Sea from Belgium, the Netherlands and even Germany. They said the smell is likely to hang around through the weekend as the easterly wind continues. The National Farmers’ Union blamed the smell on the muck-spreading by Dutch farmers, who it said are banned from the practice in the winter and are now spreading it “en masse.”  London newspapers reported the smell on their front pages Friday afternoon, with one paper branding it “Le Stink.”  [CNN.com]

Thanks to Megan for the tip!

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