Jay Bybee: Well, we know why he’s recused from the rendition case …
Ninth Circuit Judge Jay Bybee isn’t participating in a critical case about the state secrets privilege.
The appeals court decided today to hear en banc a civil lawsuit brought by one of the victims of extraordinary rendition, the practice of kidnapping terror suspects and flying them to foreign prisons. The defendant is a Boeing subsidiary which operated the flights. An earlier Ninth Circuit panel had allowed the suit to proceed, saying it could not be quashed solely on the federal government’s claim that it would jeopardize state secrets.
Bybee, who has come under intense criticism for signing the so-called Torture Memos when he worked in the Ashcroft Justice Department, was recused from the en banc vote. So was Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal leader whose wife works for the ACLU in Los Angeles; the civil liberties group represents the plaintiff. Other judges recused from the case are Margaret McKeown, Ronald Gould, Milan Smith Jr. and Sandra Ikuta. We’re guessing professional ties to Boeing, especially for McKeown and Gould, since they have Seattle roots. Any readers want to fill in the blanks?
— Dan Levine