Tuesday :: Jan 18, 2011

Important State Secrets Case Going to the Supreme Court

by Oly Mike

Important case. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons Lots of history to suggest that the Supremes should slap some limits on state secrets given the fact that the government has abused the privilege, even in the precedent case from 1953.

Doesn't seem too likely given the makeup of the current court.

From the WSJ piece:

High Court to Consider State Secrets Doctrine

For the first time in nearly 60 years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider the limits of "state secrets," a legal doctrine the government often cites to quash lawsuits it says could expose information vital to national security.

But Tuesday's case involves aerospace giants Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp., which contend the government violated their constitutional rights by invoking the state secrets privilege to trump their claims in a long-running contract dispute.

The doctrine is well known for blocking former detainees from suing over abuses allegedly suffered in America's response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Today's state secrets privilege traces to 1953, when the Supreme Court ruled that the government could withhold an accident report from widows whose husbands died in the crash of a B-29 bomber that was testing secret electronic equipment.

"If the court is ultimately satisfied that military secrets are at stake," the plaintiff's need for evidence must yield to national-security interests, Chief Justice Fred Vinson wrote in the case of U.S. v. Reynolds. The crash report, later declassified, said negligence caused the crash and did not contain electronics secrets.

The Reynolds case is a landmark case in the expansion of presidential/government power.
I will quote IF Stone: "Governments lie."

I think that covers it.

Oly Mike :: 9:51 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!