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The Obama Administration filed a series of appeals Friday night, seeking to overturn a federal judge's order that blocked the military from unilaterally establishing rules for lawyers who represent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
In a blistering opinion, Lamberth noted that all the prisoners had a continuing right of access to the courts and he said the administration's move amounted to "an illegitimate exercise of Executive power." The indictment was a politically pointed one in light of the harsh criticism candidate Barack Obama leveled at President George W. Bush's administration over his assertion of unfettered executive power to prosecute the global war on terror.
Four years after a Democratic convention replete with criticism of then-President George W. Bush for illegally exceeding his executive powers in places like Guantanamo, President Barack Obama finds his administration the target of a tongue-lashing from a federal judge over its handling of lawyers' access to those same war-on-terror prisoners.
On Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth handed a resounding victory to Guantanamo inmates and their attorneys, rejecting a bid by the Obama Administration to unilaterally set the rules under which those lawyers operate.
"The Court, whose duty it is to secure an individual's liberty for unauthorized illegal Executive confinement, cannot now tell a prisoner that he must beg leave of the Executive's grace before the Court will involve itself. This very notion offends the separation of powers principles and our constitutional scheme," added Lamberth, who is serving at the moment as the chief judge in the district court in Washington.