ABA Blasts Liz Cheney Ad As ‘Divisive And Diversionary’

In response to the Liz Cheney Web ad that questions the loyalty of lawyers who have represented Guantanamo detainees, the president of the American Bar Association said it is “a divisive and diversionary tactic” to impugn “the character of lawyers who have sought to protect the fundamental rights of unpopular clients.”

In a statement to TPMmuckraker, ABA President Carolyn Lamm said that lawyers have an ethical obligation to “provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government–even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt.”Lamm added: “The American people understand this obligation, and the corollary principle that representing a client is a commitment to a legal system that requires justice, not to any one client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.”

The ad by Keep America Safe, Liz Cheney’s organization, goes after Justice Department lawyers who previously represented detainees at Guantanamo. It dubbed the lawyers “the Al Qaeda Seven” and asked “Whose values do they share?” while showing a picture of Osama bin Laden.

Here is Lamm’s full statement:

“A fundamental tenet of our justice system is that any one who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to uphold that principle and provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government–even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt. The American people understand this obligation, and the corollary principle that representing a client is a commitment to a legal system that requires justice, not to any one client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities. Impugning the character of lawyers who have sought to protect the fundamental rights of unpopular clients is a divisive and diversionary tactic.”

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