“Roberts was part of a three-judge panel that handed President Bush an important victory the week before he announced Roberts’ nomination to the bench,” reports Democracy Now!.
“The appeals court ruled in the Hamdan V. Rumsfeld case that the military tribunals of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could proceed. The decision also found that Bush could deny terrorism captives prisoner-of-war status as outlined by the Geneva Conventions.” Said Georgetown law professor David Luban today in today’s DN! interview:
[Roberts] knew that he was on the three-judge panel as early as last December. The case was argued, the oral argument was April 7. Six days before … he had an interview with Att’y Gen. Gonzales. [W]hile the case was deliberated, there’s a gap between April 7, when the oral argument took place, and July 15, when the court issued the decision. He had numerous other interviews for the Supreme Court judgeship. [T]hat’s the period of time in which he is deliberating and presumably discussing with the other judges on the panel what the ruling should be in the case.
Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (see the blogroll on the left), said:
[M]y reaction [is] utter amazement … [O]n April 1, a week before the argument, [Roberts met] with Gonzales, the Attorney General who was the architect of the entire policy that the Geneva Conventions shouldn’t apply to [Guantanamo detainees], that they should use military commissions, and he’s meeting with this guy at the same time that he is sitting on a case that’s going to determine whether or not the Geneva Conventions apply.
[A]t a minimum, as David’s article clearly says in Slate, his impartiality might reasonably have been questioned [and Judge Roberts] should have disqualified himself. There’s not any issue about it.
I would go further. It reminds me of a case when Ellsberg [Pentagon Papers] was on trial for espionage. During the trial President Nixon, briefly, but other people in his office, Ehrlichman and others, met with the trial judge to offer him to be the head of the F.B.I. [T]he outcry [was] huge. …
Listen/watch/read all. Goodman also asks both men about the missing documents. Emphases mine.