Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, a Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, was recently passed over for promotion. The notification came about two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with him and against the White House in the case involving one of Osama bin Laden's drivers.
In the opinion of Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, Swift was "a no-brainer for promotion," given his dedication to the Navy and the law.
When asked what was at stake in the fight over the rights of Guantánamo detainees, Swift replied:
"America is a mix of every people in the world. ... Our territory is not homogenous. What we are fixed by are our ideals. That's basically what America is. We are a set of principles. If we lose sight of those principles, then we lose sight of America. There is no extraordinary period of time that says you abandon your principles. A fundamental American principle is an independent judicial branch that makes fair and impartial decisions. And we should not abandon that."