Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that political attacks on the Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantanamo Bay detainees were “unsettling.”
Ginsburg made her remarks at an awards ceremony hosted by the Pro Bono Institute at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Blog of Legal Times reported Monday.
In her introduction of General Electric Co. General Counsel Brackett Denniston III, who was receiving an award, Ginsburg mentioned the attacks on lawyers who represented terrorism suspects.
Earlier this month, a nonprofit organization headed by Liz Cheney released an ad that attacked the lawyers for their prior representation, dubbing them the “al-Qaeda Seven.”
On Friday, Ginsburg said the ad reminded her of a similar situation in 2007. A Pentagon official in charge of detainee affairs, Charles “Cully” Stimson, expressed disappointment that lawyers from major companies including GE represented Guantanamo detainees.
“I remember speaking with Brackett about that situation, and he said, ‘Pro bono service and the rule of law are great traditions at GE, and we have no intention of changing our relationships with firms based on pro bono efforts in which they are engaged,’” Ginsburg said, according to BLT. “The truth is that justice is served when there is quality representation by lawyers for everyone.”
(Interestingly, two weeks ago Stimson was among the signatories of a statement decrying the attacks on DOJ attorneys who represented the terrorism detainees.)
Attorney General Eric Holder also defended lawyers who represent the “the unpopular” — such as Guantanamo Bay detainees — hailing them as “patriots” in a speech at the Pro Bono Institute on Friday.