The Philosopher's Eye

News and brain candy for the philosophy community

The “Al Qaeda” Seven

A political firestorm erupted this past week over a commercial created by an incipient political group, led by Liz Cheney, called “Keeping America Safe.” In the video, we learn that there are lawyers working for the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) who formerly represented detainees (and alleged terrorists) being held captive in Guantanamo. The dark voice in the commercial then implores us to urge the DoJ to release the names of these lawyers because it is unclear just “whose values they share.” “Americans have a right to know,” we are told, “the identify of the Al Qaeda Seven.”

The assumption driving the argument in the commercial seems to be, roughly, that a lawyer will only represent clients with whom she shares an affinity of values. For the argument’s logic works only if we assume that there are no other (readily-available) reasons for lawyers to represent clients in court. But, as critics of the commercial will tell you, there clearly are such reasons. At this point, it seems, a defender of the argument must show that its account of lawyers’ behavior is more plausible — at least, in this case — than competing accounts. If there is even the slightest reason for thinking so, we have yet to see it.

Related Articles:

Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism
By Jeffrey Goldsworthy , Monash University
(Vol. 4, May 2009)
Philosophy Compass

Contemporary virtue ethics
By Karen Stohr, Georgetown University
(Vol. 1, February 2006)
Philosophy Compass

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