Federal Judge Rules Padilla Can Sue John Yoo

The decision, handed down on Friday, allows convicted detainees to file civil lawsuits against lawyers, such as John Yoo, in the Bush administration whose legal theories led to the detainees being tortured:

The decision issued late Friday by a judge in San Francisco allowing a civil lawsuit to go forward against a former Bush administration official, John C. Yoo, might seem like little more than the removal of a procedural roadblock.

But lawyers for the man suing Mr. Yoo, Jose Padilla, say it provides substantive interpretation of constitutional issues for all detainees and could have a broad impact.

Mr. Padilla was held as an “enemy combatant” in solitary confinement for more than three years in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. Mr. Padilla, who was convicted of supporting terrorism and other crimes, demands that Mr. Yoo be held accountable for actions that Mr. Padilla claims led to his being tortured.

During the time Mr. Padilla was held in the brig, according to his filings in the case, he “suffered gross physical and psychological abuse at the hands of federal officials as part off a systematic program of abusive interrogation intended to break down Mr. Padilla’s humanity and his will to live.”

In the 42-page ruling, Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco characterized the conflict as one that embodies the tension “between the requirements of war and the defense of the very freedoms that war seeks to protect.”

Mr. Yoo, as part of a senior administrative group called the War Council, helped to shape Bush administration policy in the war on terrorism, and as deputy attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, wrote many memorandums authorizing harsh treatment. Mr. Yoo had argued that he should be immune from the suit because it was not clearly established that the treatment would be unconstitutional.

Judge White, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, rejected all but one of Mr. Yoo’s immunity claims and found that Mr. Padilla “has alleged sufficient facts to satisfy the requirement that Yoo set in motion a series of events that resulted in the deprivation of Padilla’s constitutional rights.”

I haven’t been able to find the pdf of the opinion, but if and when I do, I will post it.

One Response to “Federal Judge Rules Padilla Can Sue John Yoo”

  1. JohnHolmes says:

    What a great decision, this means the citizenry can now sue ANY public official for perceived malfeasance or damages created from some policy decision.

    I plan to sue Bill Clinton for failing to kill Bin Laden when he had the chance (5x), thereby leading to the murder of over 2000 people. I also plan to sue Obama for taking away my Health Care Plan, and spending over 17k this year in my name. Ironically while the Health bill may be named after fatt Teddy Kennedy, under this plan Kennedy himself would already be dead .. the experimental treatment he is undergoing is too expensive. Judges or Prison Officials who release violent criminals can be sued when they kill/rape again too!!

    I’m sure Kathy is all gleeful at this decision, I can’t wait for the repercussions.

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