OVER A 45-year career in defense of human and civil rights, here are some of the cases and causes for which Michael Ratner fought:
• Attica Brothers vs. Rockefeller was a federal lawsuit to force New York state to prosecute police for the killing of prisoners in the 1971 uprising.
• He fought for a federal injunction against U.S. aid to the murderous Nicaraguan contras, following the International Court of Justice ruling that the Reagan administration ignored.
• He sued the government twice over incarcerations at Guantanamo — in the 1990s when the Bill Clinton administration interned HIV-positive Haitian refugees there, and after 2001 over the George W. Bush regime’s detention policy. The latter case, which he said “We filed 100% on principle,” led to the Supreme Court ruling for habeas corpus for detainees. He was a founder of the Guantanamo Bay Bar Association, which consisted of hundreds of attorneys who provide representation to prisoners at Guantanamo.
• He defended whistleblower Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and spoke out in support of Edward Snowden.
These are only a few highlights from a lifetime of struggle for justice. “Michael’s legacy,” stated the Center for Constitional Rights, “is the sea of people he has touched — his family, his clients, his allies, his colleagues, and all the young lawyers he has inspired. Today we mourn. Tomorrow we carry on his work.”
September-October 2016, ATC 184