May 29, 2009

Sotomayor and Maher Arar

Adam Liptak and Jo Becker have a piece in the New York Times today about Judge Sonia Sotomayor and the case of Maher Arar—an innocent Canadian man abducted by US authorities, "held in solitary confinement and subjected to harsh questioning before being sent to Syria ... where (he) was tortured ... and imprisoned for nearly a year in an underground cell the size of a grave until the Syrians finally let him go. (NYT. Feb. 17, 2009)"

Seems Sotomayor didn't approve of rendition and the innocent Arar being tortured. But some believe this case demonstrates a "blunt and even testy side (that) was on display in December during an argument before the federal appeals court in New York."

I hope that should President Obama continue this repulsive practice that all decent men and women display their blunt and testy sides.

Write Liptak and Becker:

'So the minute the executive raises the specter of foreign policy, national security,' Judge Sotomayor asked the lawyer, Jonathan F. Cohn, 'it is the government’s position that that is a license to torture anyone?'

Mr. Cohn managed to get out two and a half words: 'No, your hon—— .'

Judge Sotomayor cut him off, then hit him with two more questions and a flat declaration of what she said was his position. The lawyer managed to say she was wrong, but could not clarify the point until the chief judge, Dennis G. Jacobs, stepped in, asking, 'Why don’t we just get the position?'

Good for Sotomayor. The United States can afford to be just and humane and when we lose our capacity for outrage, we're through.

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