Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Extremist" nominee for Court

One of the President's nominees for the Circuit Court bench is William J. Haynes, II. Left-wing groups have been going absolutely bonkers smearing him and denouncing him as an extremist because of his work for Secretary Rumsfeld as general counsel for the defense department.

What is really fascinating to me about this is that I know him (slightly). He was two years behind me at Davidson and he married Meg Campbell, who was a classmate of mine. He was Phi Beta Kappa at DC and went on to Harvard for law school. I believe Meg was also Phi Beta Kappa and she is also an attorney.

The irony of the condemnation of Haynes as an extremist is that his wife is very liberal in her politics and her work. As the director of the American Bar Association's Child Support Project, she was elected to chair the Commission on Interstate Child Support created by Congress in the late '80s.

It must be really tough on a liberal like Meg to read and hear her husband described in such harsh terms by her political friends and allies. It must also bug her to wonder if they really think she would marry and raise a family with a man such as the "extremist" they describe.

The reality is that he is a really outstanding person with an outstanding legal mind who would make a great judge. Even a liberal like Meg knows it.


Blogger Ol' BC said...

Stan, Anyone Dubya proposes is going to have the extreme label. There are some very good candidates on his reported short list for SCOTUS. I bet whomever the nominee turns out to be, he gets the extreme label.

3:24 PM, July 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Anyone Dubya proposes is going to have the extreme label

I dunno about that. At this point, that extreme label would apply to about 60% of the population. And, of course, dozens and dozens of serious conservatives are among the 60%. Even paleo-conservatives like Scowcroft, Weyrich, Levy, Roberts, and so on...have spoken out against Bush.

Now, about Mr. Haynes. Yeah, I knew him at Davidson and I'm shocked that he was (is) so deeply involved in justifying (at the least) torture. I'm disappointed that he's been honored as a distinguished alumni. He and his wife may be nice people but what he's done is wrong. Dead wrong on a moral plane, wrong from a practical standpoint, and mostly likely a federal crime as well as an international crime.

The more we learn about Haynes role in facilitating torture, the more shame--as a Davidsonian, as a US citizen--I feel for him.

Look at today's NYT article, for example:

You don't have to be conservative, liberal, or a Davidsonian to see that Haynes has played a shameful role in one of the most shameful acts by our country.

2:55 PM, February 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More sad and morally devestating stuff on Haynes role in institutionalizing torture in the Pentagon:


Again, I'm sure the "pliant" Mr. Haynes goes to church on Sundays, supports his wife's good deeds, and brings donuts to staff meetings. Facilitating torture, however, is bad business and not what I took from my Humes classes.

5:21 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Stan said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have to assume you read more carefully at Davidson than you did with this article in the Times (or you wouldn't have graduated).

The Times article doesn't come anywhere close to justifying the conclusions you draw. Your infammatory and overreaching conclusions about Haynes are simply silly. Surely you must realize that you lose credibility when you make baseless claims like these.

After seeing how badly you summarized the Times article, I didn't even bother reading the one in the New Yorker.

(Of course, that you rely on the Times and the New Yorker for your "facts" raises a whole different set of credibilty questions, but that's a post for another day.)

2:45 PM, February 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, of course, the NYT article doesn't begin to cover the depth of Haynes involvement in torture--that's why I said "for example..." It's just one small article in a flood of recent articles discussing Haynes role in implementing torture at the Pentagon. ("William J. Haynes" and torture comes up with about 20k hits, fwiw.)

Regardless, I agree, my thoughts about how ashamed I am that Haynes attended the same school I did, indeed many of the same classes, are basically irrelevant.

It's too bad you didn't take the time to read through the NYer article. It provides some interesting background for Haynes's torture related paperwork that you don't get from just reading the primary documents.

A reasonable place to start--if you have doubts about the facts in the NYer and NTY and, yes, both are a bit out of context and hard to follow if you haven't spent time with the actual documents--are Haynes own words.

There's a WaPo archive with a half dozen Haynes memos here:


And a somewhat more complete (but still out of date) archive is here:


One conclusion--apparently an "inflammatory and overreaching conclusion" in your opinion--I have drawn from reading Haynes own writings about torture is that, as I said, Haynes was deeply involved in justifying torture.

1:46 AM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That line at the end of the first paragraph above should read "about 20k hits in google, for what that worth." Sorry.


More on Haynes in this week's Newsweek:

>Haynes was directly involved in setting U.S. interrogation policies and oversaw a Pentagon "working group" that in the spring of 2003 embraced the reasoning in a now discredited Justice Department "torture" memo. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that a classified version of last week's Pentagon report refers to still-secret memos and other material that could be problematic for Haynes. These include documents reflecting strong objections from senior U.S. military lawyers to the aggressive interrogation techniques that Haynes had urged at Gitmo.


Presumably, the article is refering to Alberto Mora (you'll have to read the NYer article, since most of Mora's primary documents are still classified) and other senior military lawyers who strongly objected to Haynes work on torture.

2:05 AM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ack. I just proved the rule that all typo corrections contain typos. Agggain.

2:07 AM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymiss said...

I was also a classmate of Jim Haynes at Davidson, and was quite close to his wife, Meg. I, too, am disappointed at what he has become, and at the Distinguished Alumni award he received last year at our 25th reunion. I do not understand. His actions and words do not reflect the ideals instilled in us at Davidson.

12:47 AM, July 15, 2006  

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