Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mohamed v. Jeppsen Dataplan (9th Cir. - April 28, 2009)

Sometimes you smile when the panel draw comes out.

This is a torture case. Err, I mean, "extraordinary rendition." Oops, I mean, "enhanced interrogation techniques." Whatever. It's a bunch of people who had their testicles zapped, were beaten, deprived of sleep, etc. Call it what you will; by any name, it's not an evening at the Ritz. Several of these people have been at Guantanamo, but this lawsuit's about what transpired at the U.S. "dark prisons" and/or at the hands of the foreign governments who we transferred these people to in order to do our dirty work. Err, I mean, "the work the American people sadly don't have the stomach to perform personally in these desperate times." Like the whole "injure your privates" thing.

The district court dismisses the lawsuit, even though it's against a private party who allegedly helped with the program, when the U.S. comes in on a 12(b)(6) and seeks dismissal pursuant to the state secrets privilege. The ACLU represents the plaintiffs, Munger Tolles represents the defendants, and (as you might expect) there's lots of amici.

Who's the panel? Judges Schroeder, Canby and Hawkins. Two Carter appointees and a Clinton. Could you get a better panel if you were the plaintiffs? Of course you could. But could you get worse? Definitely. Much.

So the decision is unanimous. Reversed.