Thursday, April 30, 2009
Court recognizes claim against Boeing subsidiary for damages caused by violation of the law of nations
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit that claims a Boeing subsidiary helped the CIA transport prisoners to overseas prisons for torture. The trial court had had dismissed the suit claiming it could jeopardize national security and foreign relations, but on appeal, Judge Michael Hawkins wrote that "According to the government's theory, the judiciary should effectively cordon off all secret government actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the CIA and its partners from the demands and limits of the law." Allowing the government to shield its conduct from court review simply because classified information is involved "would ... perversely encourage the president to classify politically embarrassing information simply to place it beyond the reach of judicial process," Hawkins said. The opinion is available here. For more on this story go to the New York Times here and the San Franciso Chronicle here.