Michigan Supreme Court candidate Bridget McCormack is criticized in a new television campaign ad for offering to provide legal representation to detainees suspected of terrorism held at Guantanamo Bay, the Detroit Free Press says.
In the ad, a mother of a Flint soldier who was killed in Afghanistan decries McCormack’s offer to “represent and help free suspected terrorists.”
Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for McCormack, decried the ad as “last-minute mud-slinging by a special interest group outside of Michigan” in the state’s judicial election.
A Washington, D.C.-based legal advocacy group called the Judicial Crisis Network is sponsoring the ad, the article reports. Stu Sandler, former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, says spending on the ad will be more than $1 million.
The article states that McCormack was only publicly identified as an attorney for one Guantanamo prisoner, named Muqit Vohidov. Vohidov was transferred to Tajikistan in 2007.
Former state Rep. Andrew Raczkowski called McCormack’s offer to assist individuals accused of terrorism “extremely hypocritical” when she says she’s “running to protect families and children.” The ad, entitled “How Could You,” can be viewed here.
This is not the first time that individuals in the legal field have been attacked for representing detainees at Guantanamo. In 2007, former senior Pentagon official Charles “Cully” Stimson criticized law firms for giving legal aid to the prisoners. According to the New York Times, Stimson resigned in February 2007 after his comments drew anger from lawyers and the Department of Defense.
Liz Cheney and her group, Keep America Safe, accused the Obama Administration of hiring people for jobs at the Department of Justice who had previously represented detainees or worked on detainee issues. Seattle attorney Harry H. Schneider Jr. and Chicago attorney Thomas P. Sullivan, who represented prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay as part of their pro bono work, wrote in the Chicago Tribune to defend the right of attorneys to counsel individuals seeking legal assistance. Schneider and Sullivan also discussed the importance of the right to counsel as part of due process and the rule of law.