Is the Ninth Circuit so press savvy that they struck down President Bush/Obama’s state secrets argument on the very morning the national political press is swirling over Sen. Specter’s defection, hoping no one would notice? Well, they didn’t count on good old Legal Pad!
A three member panel, led by Clinton appointee Michael Daly Hawkins (pictured), says (.pdf) the feds can’t raise state secrets to defeat a lawsuit over the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. It’s a fairly liberal panel, but this one is worth reading. First money quote from Hawkins: “Acceding to the government’s request would require us to ignore well-established principles of civil procedure. At this stage in the litigation, we simply cannot prospectively evaluate hypothetical claims of privilege that the government has not yet raised and the district court has not yet considered."
Tuesday Evening Update: We've got a full story on the decision, including Hawkins' liberal use of Scalia quotes, over at Cal Law.