Bush denies "litmus test" for high court nominees, defends Gitmo

[JURIST] President Bush on Wednesday said "litmus tests" on sensitive issues will not be a part of his search for a nominee to the Supreme Court, while still giving no names or timetable other than reinforcing his plan to have the vacancy filled by the Court's new term in October. Bush again defended from criticism [JURIST report] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and potential nominee, saying, "I don't like it when a friend gets criticized." Both liberal and conservative groups have taken issue with some of Gonzales' positions. Bush, who turns 59 today [White House profile], addressed the media from Denmark, where he also thanked the Danes for sending troops to Iraq and made some extended comments defending the US detention facilty at Guantanamo:

The Prime Minister is concerned about what the situation on Guantanamo says about America and our view of liberty. Let me tell you what I told him. I said, first, the prisoners are well-treated in Guantanamo. There's total transparency. The International Red Cross can inspect any time, any day. And you're welcome to go. The press, of course, is welcome to go down to Guantanamo.

Secondly, we have sent many home. These people were picked up on the battlefield. They didn't wear uniforms, they weren't associated with a government, but they were on the battlefield. And so we put them in Guantanamo. We wanted to find out as much as we could about what they knew about this war on terror in order to protect our citizens. Many, it turned out, were sent home.

Thirdly, I assured the Prime Minister there's got to be a way forward for people held in Guantanamo, and there will be. The reason why you haven't seen any adjudication of individuals is because our court system is determining where best to try people, whether it be in a military tribunal where a person would have all -- lawyers and rights, or whether it be in the civilian courts. And once the judicial branch of our government makes its decision, then we'll proceed forward with giving people fair and open trials.

I just want you to remember we are in a war against these terrorists. My most solemn obligation is to protect the American people from further attack. These people are being treated humanely. There's very few prison systems around the world that have seen such scrutiny as this one. And for those of you here on the continent of Europe who have doubt, I'd suggest buying an airplane ticket and going down and look -- take a look for yourself.
Later Wednesday the President will be in Edinburgh, Scotland for the G8 summit. USA Today has more.

 

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