An appeal not to appeal

A federal judge has found that the government doesn’t have enough evidence to convince him that five of the six Boumediene detainees were planning to travel to Afghanistan to fight our troops (the evidence was deemed sufficient as to the sixth). As I understand the facts, there is a document that says this. But Judge Richard Leon concluded that he didn’t have enough information to assess the credibility of the source and there was no corroborating information.

The judge ordered that the five be freed “forthwith.” He then urged the Justice Department not to appeal his order. “Seven years is enough,” Judge Richard Leon declared.

It’s a fine thing that Judge Leon is so concerned about protecting the rights of Algerians who may well have been on their way to kill Americans. But Americans also have rights, and one of them is the right of their government to appeal adverse rulings by lower courts. This right is especially important when the issue is the detention of individual who may be out to kill Americans.

The government should exercise its right of appeal, regardless of Judge Leon’s plea, unless the judge’s opinion persuades the government that its position lacks merit.

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