BREAKING NEWS: Judge Vaughn Walker Keeps Al-Haramain Alive!

The decision just came to me hot from a source involved in the case. Judge Walker has entered his order on al-Haramain. [pdf]

The court has, in keeping with its orders dated January 5 (Doc #537/57), February 13 (Doc #562/71) and February 19 (Doc #566/75), reviewed the Sealed Document and the parties’ various submissions on the subject of appropriate measures to prevent disclosure of classified information while allowing “both parties [] access to the material upon which the court makes a decision.” RT, Hearing held January 23, 2009 (Doc #532/67) at 34 and Doc #562/71 at 2,3.

The United States, in response to the court’s directive to “inform the court how it intends to comply with the January 5 order” (Doc #562/71 at 3) has offered up three similar-sounding alternatives all of which appear geared toward obtaining a stay of this court’s proceedings and review by the court of appeals, even though its simultaneous attempts to obtain review as of right and by means of an interlocutory appeal of the January 5 order failed in February (Doc #562/71 and Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc v Obama, No 09-15266 (9th Cir February 27, 2009)). As both this court and the court of appeals have determined that this matter is properly before the court, the United States should now comply with the court’s orders.

Accordingly, the parties are hereby ordered to meet and confer regarding the entry of an appropriate protective order which shall be entered herein before the court rules on the merits. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has successfully employed protective orders in the In Re Guantánamo Bay Detainee Litigation, D DC No Misc 08-0442 TFH, even providing for the use of top secret/sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI). See, for example, the documents at docket numbers 409 and 1481 in that matter. The United States has advanced no argument that would suggest a reason why the court’s use of a protective order in instant matter modeled on those in use in the Guantánamo Bay would not adequately protect the classified information at issue here.

The parties shall submit to the court a stipulated protective order on or before May 8, 2009. If the parties are unable to agree on all terms, they shall jointly submit a document containing all agreed terms together with a document setting forth the terms about which they are unable to reach agreement and the respective positions of the parties with regard to each such term.

The court will then consider the submissions and enter a protective order under which this case may resume forward progress.


Bottom line folks, the case is going to proceed and Walker is not going to sanction the matter being taken to the Ninth Circuit on another interlocutory appeal. All outstanding news!

43 replies
  1. Mary says:


    Thanks for staying on top of this bmaz and thanks to your source too. Nice Friday news after some depressing times reading up on torture.

    • MadDog says:

      Yes, but Bybee was not on the 3-member 9th Circuit Appeals Court group that reviewed the DOJ filing that was turned down referenced in Judge Walker’s order.

      Had he been, my guess is that yes, he would have had to recuse himself.

  2. MadDog says:

    I wondered why we’ve not seen much of bmaz around in the last day or so.

    Must’ve been all that camping out in that VW Bug that EW rented for you in order to maintain the Judge Vaughn Walker watch.

    Hope you had enough empty Coke bottles to answer the calls of nature. *g*

    Btw, ta for the great news!

  3. emptywheel says:

    Shorter Walker: “I’ve reviewed the sealed documents, decided that this will move forward, so now figure out how to do so while protecting classified information.”

    Even Shorter Walker: Yes, the government illegally wiretapped, so prepare for some litigation.

  4. greenwarrior says:

    the 9th circuit – glad it’s not going there. we don’t need to see any more of the jb contortionist in action.

    • bmaz says:

      Are you kidding? The 9th is by a long measure the most liberal circuit there is. Forget Bybee, he is one judge and he would be conflicted anyway.

    • dosido says:

      sheesh ain’t that the truth.

      I’m just now catching up and reading David Iglesias’ In Justice. I don’t know if I’ve ever lived in time when the government was in such contempt of its own laws.

  5. klynn says:

    I had a feeling we would learn about this today.

    It is a day to be thankful for both the ACLU, EFF and Judge Walker, along with progressive blogs. This is the hope I see through the fog of the standing failures of justice around us.

    As both this court and the court of appeals have determined that this matter is properly before the court, the United States should now comply with the court’s orders



    bmaz, thanks for all the “on watch” hours.

    Thanks for all your posts in the last two days.

    (klynn, heavy sigh…not sure if it is in relief, just injustice stress decompression or the glimmer of hope.)

  6. MichaelDG says:

    Great news ya’ll! And it has been a depressing few days hasn’t it? Still keeping with it.

  7. posaune says:

    Thanks SO much, bmaz. The greatest news on the civil liberties front that we could get!

    You and EW are absolutely the best, and you are very very highly appreciated!

  8. worldwidehappiness says:


    Do you think Walker might have been waiting till the memos were released so that he could strike more stuff off the “possible reasons why this needs to be kept secret” list?

    Now the Govt has less excuses for arguing that the case shouldn’t go ahead on secret security grounds.

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