19 May 2006, Chicago - Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, and counsel Gary Isaac, were honored by the Center for Constitutional Rights ("CCR") at its 2006 President's Reception for the firm's work on the Guantánamo detainee litigation. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw was presented with the 2006 Law Firm Award for Pro Bono Service, while Gary Isaac was honored with the 2006 President's Award. Since the fall of 2003, attorneys from the Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. offices have been actively involved in litigation challenging the U.S. Government's detention of alleged "enemy combatants" at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and elsewhere.
In addition to Gary Isaac, those involved in the litigation on behalf of Mayer, Brown include partners Robert Helman, Philip Lacovara, Andrew Pincus, James Schroeder, Adrian Steel, and Jeffrey Strauss, associates Emilie Beavers, Ryan Farley, Sarah Josephson, Steve Kane, Lauren Frank Noll, Liz Oyer, Andrew Schaefer, and Andrew Tauber, Pro Bono Program Manager Marcia Maack, and paralegal Steve Wells.
Former associates David Grossman and Jon Juenger were also key participants in the work. Many other colleagues at the law firm have also generously offered their advice and assistance. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw attorneys filed two amicus briefs in the Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush on behalf of retired military officers, and another in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld on behalf of former American POWs. These briefs argued that the Executive's indefinite detention of individuals without providing any process for the prisoners to contest their imprisonment was contrary to the rule of law and violated the United States' obligations under the Geneva Conventions and U.S. military regulations. Following the Supreme Court's decisions in Rasul and Hamdi, which held that detainees have a right to challenge their detention in federal court, lawyers from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw have played an active part in the group of attorneys bringing habeas actions on behalf of individual detainees.
The firm was co-counsel for a detainee who has since been released, and is now co-counsel with CCR in John Does 1-570 v. Bush, which was filed in the D.C. District Court on behalf of detainees at Guantánamo for whom habeas petitions could not previously be filed because the Government had refused to disclose the detainees' names or allow them access to counsel. Most recently, lawyers for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw filed an amicus brief on behalf of retired military officers in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Supreme Court will be deciding whether the Guantanamo detainees may be subjected to criminal trials before military commissions established by the President. The firm was also actively involved in lobbying concerning legislation that became the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 ("DTA"), and submitted an amicus brief in the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of Senator Carl Levin concerning the legislative history of the DTA, which the government claims strips the federal courts of jurisdiction over pending habeas cases filed by detainees. That issue is now pending before the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.
At the President's Reception, CCR noted that "Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, under the leadership of Gary Isaac, has been at the forefront of CCR's efforts to safeguard the rights of hundreds of Guantanamo detainees. While many lawyers have offered pro bono habeas representation, Mayer Brown has provided unique support to CCR's leadership in challenging detention, interrogation, and rendition. . The Mayer Brown team has also devoted countless hours to strategic discussions with CCR staff, and Mr. Isaac provides crucial advice in coordinating scores of law firms working on complex and novel litigation. This support has allowed CCR to transform private firm lawyers into staunch human rights advocates and CCR allies."
(L-R) CCR Staff Attorney Tina Foster, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw Counsel Gary Isaac, CCR Staff Attorney Gita Gutierrez, and CCR President Michael Ratner