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‘Hero of Guantanamo’ on Detainee Bill: ‘I Don’t Believe’ It Will ‘Match Constitutional Muster’

By Payson Schwin  

"‘Hero of Guantanamo’ on Detainee Bill: ‘I Don’t Believe’ It Will ‘Match Constitutional Muster’"

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Lt. Commander Charles Swift, the lawyer who represented Guantanamo detainee Salim Hamdan in the landmark Supreme Court case that ruled President Bush’s military commissions unconstitutional and in violation of international law, appeared on C-Span yesterday to take questions from viewers. Swift has been dubbed the “hero of Guantanamo,” yet he was recently “passed over for promotion” by the Pentagon.

Swift spoke forcefully against the detainee legislation the House and Senate approved in September. “Unfortuantely,” Swift said, Congress did “exactly what Justice Kennedy told them not to do” and passed “legislation that was done in the heat of the moment.” “I don’t believe that it’s going to match constitutional muster when the courts have an opportunity to take a look at it,” Swift added. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/10/swift.320.240.flv]

Read a summary of the problems with the detainee bill HERE.

Transcript:

Unfortunately, Congress in [sic] doing exactly what Justice Kennedy told them not to do. He warned against legislation that was done in the heat of the moment, and was not done carefully and measured over time, and thought outside of the conflict, “What’s the best thing to do?” Unfortunately, instead of that, we got a very quick piece of legislation heard in a difficult political climate. And I don’t believe that it’s going to match constitutional muster when the courts have an opportunity to take a look at it.

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