Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ACLU -- undermining US interests through litigation

David Rivkin and Lee Casey discuss how the ACLU is wasting judicial resources by suing a corporation for allegedly helping the CIA transfer terror suspects to Eastern European countries. It's all part of the Left's lawfare against the war.

Leaving aside the lack of legal merit, the ACLU's claims are part of a highly troubling new trend. They are of a piece with a number of other ATS [Alien Tort Statute] lawsuits brought against government contractors, actions filed last year against telecommunications companies alleging that they violated federally protected privacy rights by cooperating with the NSA's data-collection efforts, and an action, filed last March in Minnesota, against several airline passengers who had reported what they believed to be suspicious activity by a group of Muslim imams. The government enjoys legal immunities and other advantages in litigation that private citizens do not have. Moreover, for a private individual, a lawsuit, however meritless, can mean personal financial ruin and, at a minimum, significant disruption in his life. Corporations are similarly subject to costly and distracting litigation.

These are real advantages from an antiwar activist's perspective, since the result is likely to be a marked aversion by the citizenry in general, and government contractors in particular, to engage in conduct, however lawful, supporting the war. This alteration in the corporate mind set, such that risk-averse companies, no matter how patriotic their management, would find it safer to say no to any war-related requests from the federal government is very likely the goal of at least some activists.

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