Monday, October 09, 2006

"Quite a coincidence" that Navy lawyer who successfully defended client in Guantanamo trial before the Supreme Court was forced to retire

The problem was that, under Navy regulations, the only alternative would have been to promote him...

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift defended bin Laden driver

The Seatle Times:

"In the opinion of Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, Swift was "a no-brainer for promotion," given his devotion to the Navy, the law and his client.

But, he said, Swift is part of a long line of Navy defense lawyers "of tremendous distinction" who were not made full commander and "had their careers terminated prematurely."

"He brought real credit to the Navy," said Fidell. "It's too bad that it's unrequited love."

Swift's supervisor, the Pentagon's chief defense counsel for Military Commissions, said the career Navy officer had served with distinction.

"Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney, calling it "quite a coincidence" that the Navy promotion board passed on promoting Swift "within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion."

In June, the prestigious National Law Journal listed Swift among the nation's top 100 lawyers, with such legal luminaries as former Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson, 66; Stanford Law constitutional-law expert Kathleen Sullivan, 50; and former Bush campaign recount attorney Fred Bartlit, 73.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, Pentagon spokesman on Guantánamo topics, did not respond to a query about the up-or-out system by which Navy lieutenant commanders are retired if they aren't promoted.


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