Charles Swift, the JAG lawyer who bravely defended Hamdan and won his case before the Supreme Court, was denied a promotion and now must leave the Navy:
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, 44, will retire in March or April under the military’s”up or out”promotion system. Swift said last week he was notified he would not be promoted to commander.
He said the notification came about two weeks after the Supreme Court sided with him and against the White House in the case involving Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was Osama bin Laden’s driver.
“It was a pleasure to serve,” Swift told the newspaper. He added he would have defended Hamdan even if he had known it would cut short his Navy career.
“All I ever wanted was to make a difference – and in that sense I think my career and personal satisfaction has been beyond my dreams,”Swift said.
And I frankly think we all owe Swift an enormous debt of gratitude. He defended the US Constitution and the rule of law at a time when it is most necessary and most at risk. As a Navy officer, he swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic; unlike President Bush, he actually meant it. And I find the fact that his boss praised his work telling:
Swift’s supervisor said he served with distinction.
“Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job,” said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, the Pentagon’s chief defense counsel for Military Commissions. He added it was “quite a coincidence” that Swift was passed over for a promotion “within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion.”
Yeah, what a coincidence. Why does this sound like one of those nonsense breakup lines? “You’re an amazing guy, any woman would be lucky to have you…I just don’t want you.” If he’s done an exceptional job, he should have gotten the promotion. I agree with this guy:
Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said Swift was “a no-brainer for promotion.” Swift joins many other distinguished Navy officers over the years who have seen their careers end prematurely, Fidell said.
JAG lawyers don’t argue cases before the Supreme Court every day. As far as I know, this is the only time it’s ever happened. And he not only argued it, he won. And in the process, he did a great service to this country and fulfilled his oath as a soldier. If that’s not enough for promotion, I don’t know what is. But in the current environment, merit doesn’t matter; only fealty before the unitary executive’s unbridled authority will bring advancement.