People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas called on President Bush to withdraw the appeals court nomination of William Haynes, the Defense Department General Counsel who signed off on the administration’s detention policies and contributed to the catastrophic lack of oversight of prisoner treatment in Abu Ghraib prison.
Statement of PFAW President Ralph G. Neas
President Bush must withdraw the nomination of William Haynes to the federal appeals court. Haynes has been an architect and defender of administration policies that flout the rule of law, reject meaningful judicial oversight for American enemy combatants, and reject any redress at all for foreign detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Someone whose record reflects such disdain for constitutional principles and American values should not be given the power to make decisions about our constitutional rights and liberties for decades to come.
Haynes’ involvement with the Bush administration’s detention policies made his nomination to a powerful lifetime seat on the federal appeals court troubling even before the recent revelations that he signed off on policies that failed to prevent, and may well have contributed to, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Haynes has been nominated to the 4th Circuit, the administration’s preferred court to review challenges to its policies.
Haynes’ legacy at the Department of Defense is one of derelict oversight and unjust detention policies that not only undermine our country’s commitment to human rights but also endanger the lives of Americans who might be captured by enemy forces.
Federal judges are not like other political appointees that serve at the pleasure of the president. Once confirmed by the Senate, they sit for life. William Haynes should not be rewarded for his conduct with a position of such responsibility and power. President Bush owes it to the American people to withdraw this nomination.