The Navy lawyer who took the Guantánamo case of Osama bin Laden's driver to the U.S. Supreme Court — and won — has been passed over for promotion by the Pentagon and must soon leave the military.
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, 44, said last week he received word he had been denied a promotion to full-blown commander this summer, "about two weeks after" the Supreme Court sided against the White House and with his client, a Yemeni captive at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
Under the military's "up-or-out" promotion system, Swift will retire in March or April, closing a 20-year career of military service. …
In the opinion of Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, Swift was "a no-brainer for promotion," given his devotion to the Navy, the law and his client.
But, he said, Swift is part of a long line of Navy defense lawyers "of tremendous distinction" who were not made full commander and "had their careers terminated prematurely."
"He brought real credit to the Navy," said Fidell. "It's too bad that it's unrequited love."
Swift's supervisor, the Pentagon's chief defense counsel for Military Commissions, said the career Navy officer had served with distinction.
"Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney, calling it "quite a coincidence" that the Navy promotion board passed on promoting Swift "within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion."
In June, the prestigious National Law Journal listed Swift among the nation's top 100 lawyers, with such legal luminaries as former Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson, 66; Stanford Law constitutional-law expert Kathleen Sullivan, 50; and former Bush campaign recount attorney Fred Bartlit, 73.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Guantánamo defense lawyer forced out of Navy
From The Seattle Times