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Sharing the Best of America: NACDL Returns to Africa (Inside NACDL)
By Norman L. Reimer
Inside NACDL columns.
Regardless of one’s personal view of America’s response to the 9/11 attacks, there is a general recognition that many in the international community have been troubled by policies and actions that seem inconsistent with the nation’s historic commitment to the rule of law. The often bizarre proceedings at Guantánamo Bay,1 the use of extraordinary rendition, drone strikes, and recent disclosures of NSA surveillance have not enhanced the reputation of the United States as a nation devoted to the rule of law. But it is also indisputable that through every challenge a core aspect of the American system of justice remains inviolate: a deep and abiding commitment to the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
The decision to enshrine that right in the Bill of Rights, to interpret it as requiring the state to provide counsel to individuals who lack the resources to engage their own attorney, and to require that the lawyer must be effective represents the pinnacle of American values. NAC
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