NC-11: Moe Davis (D)
PROFILE

November 1, 2020 by TWN Staff

About Davis:

Moe Davis is a retired Air Force Colonel, director of the Air Force Judiciary and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. He has been a law professor, judge, speaker, writer and national security expert for Congress.

Add to that a list of honors Davis has earned that includes the prestigious Legion of Merit, six Meritorious Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Headquarters Air Force Judge Advocate of the Year award, among others.

Davis, the son of a man 100% disabled by an accident while in the Army preparing to serve in World War II, was born and raised in Shelby, N.C. He graduated from Appalachian State and North Carolina Central School of Law. Shortly after Davis passed the bar exam, his father died of a heart attack. In part to honor his father, Davis decided to join the Air Force, the start of a 25-year career of service in the military, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel. 

In 2007, while serving as chief prosecutor for Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay, Davis dared to take on the Bush Administration. He refused an order to use evidence obtained through torture, believing it was both immoral and illegal and the evidence unreliable. That decision came at a price; to uphold his principles and maintain his oath, Davis had no choice but to resign his prestigious position at Guantanamo Bay.

For his stand against torture and the political pressure placed on prosecutors at Guantanamo, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington honored. Davis by including him in, “Those Who Dared: 30 Officials Who Stood Up For Our Country.”

In 2009, after retiring from the Air Force, he was working as an assistant director and senior specialist in national security for the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. But when he wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal that was critical of the Obama Administration’s handling of prosecutions at Guantanamo Bay, Davis was fired.

Davis challenged his dismissal in court, arguing that the First Amendment protected the free speech rights of government employees. Represented by the ACLU, he ultimately won a settlement in his suit. He was honored with the Justice Charles E. Whittaker Award for professional courage and integrity, and was given the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.

Davis went on to become a law professor at the historic Howard University and served four years as a judge with the U.S. Department of Labor before moving to Asheville, where he and his wife Lisa recently built their home. They have one daughter, Ashley, who lives in Falls Church, Va.

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