Michigan Supreme Court Candidate Admits She Represented A Terrorist

It has been fascinating to follow a campaign spending its final days attempting to avoid reality, re-write history, and just close the campaign by simply pounding the table. I’m not talking about President Obama (although I could be) — I’m talking about Michigan Supreme Court candidate Bridget Mary McCormack.

As I highlighted this weekend, the Supreme Court elections in my home state of Michigan are shaping up to be a high-stakes battle as the court’s 4–3 balance in favor of conservative justices is up for grabs. The Judicial Crisis Network, of which I am chief counsel, recently ran a television ad calling attention to McCormack’s record. McCormack and her allies have disputed the ad’s accuracy.

Our ad is absolutely true. McCormack did volunteer to represent a suspected terrorist at Gitmo. That suspected terrorist fought with the terrorist group the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and was not simply “released” by the Bush administration (as claimed in one defense of McCormack). He was transferred to the custody of his home country of Tajikistan to face justice because he was wanted for crimes there, and was still deemed to pose a threat to the United States and its allies. He was ultimately convicted of serving as a mercenary in Afghanistan on behalf of the Taliban and taking part in illegal border crossings; he is now serving a 17-year sentence.

The ad is just too true for the folks supporting McCormack. Her campaign had first disputed she had represented anyone at all, but since her various liberal defenders started praising her for that defense, the McCormack story had to be turned into a noble defense of our legal system.

But there is a difference between promoting the “rule of law” and attempting to extend our legal and constitutional protections to foreign enemy combatants. We rightly distinguish between wartime treatment of our enemies and our response to even the most dangerous domestic criminals. Yes, Charles Manson got legal representation. Yet I don’t recall President Obama checking with Osama bin Laden’s defense attorney before clearing SEAL Team Six to complete its mission.

At least the new version of the McCormack “rebuttal” acknowledges the truth of the ad: She did represent a suspected terrorist, ultimately convicted after America had to jump through all the legal hurdles McCormack and her ilk put in the way. We are proud of the service we performed by exercising our constitutional rights and bringing these facts to the people of Michigan. One hopes, even prouder than McCormack is for her service representing a suspected convicted terrorist. 

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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