Obama Administration Wins in State Secrets Case

A split panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided, on a 6-5 vote, that a lawsuit filed by extraordinary rendition and torture victims is barred by the State Secrets Privilege. Over a year ago, a three-judge panel ruled that the case should proceed with traditional application of the Privilege — individual pieces of evidence would be excluded based on their secret nature, but other evidence would remain available for litigation.

Robert Chesney has some thoughtful commentary on how the current state of the law deals with rule of law versus individual justice concerns. By any measure this is, as Glenn Greenwald notes, a broad victory for the government and further evidence of continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations’ approaches to terrorism.