The Obama Administration filed a series of appeals Friday night, seeking to overturn a federal judge's order that blocked the military from unilaterally establishing rules for lawyers who represent prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in September that lawyers who helped detainees bring habeas corpus petitions seeking release from Gitmo could continue to visit and communicate with their clients under the rules judges set. Lamberth rejected the Obama Administration's effort to cast those rules aside once the habeas cases or military commission cases and any related appeals were complete.
In a blistering opinion, Lamberth noted that all the prisoners had a continuing right of access to the courts and he said the administration's move amounted to "an illegitimate exercise of Executive power." The indictment was a politically pointed one in light of the harsh criticism candidate Barack Obama leveled at President George W. Bush's administration over his assertion of unfettered executive power to prosecute the global war on terror.
An administration official told POLITICO early Saturday that Friday's filings were made in order to keep open the option of an appeal and that no final decision has been made about whether to see an appeal through.
"The government filed a notice of appeal...to preserve its options in this matter. The consideration of an appeal requires appropriate and thorough deliberation and that process is ongoing," the official said.
Nevertheless, for now the dispute heads to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.