“Wittgenstein for the Defense”

That alleged (has it been formally alleged?) dirty bomber Joseph Padilla is entitled to legal counsel might seem obvious, but U.S. District Judge Michael B. Mukasey had to reach back to none less that Wittgenstein to undercut the government’s logic for trying to deny him access to a lawyer:

The government’s argument summons from obscurity an abstruse problem – that because no rule can determine its own application, it may appear that there can be no binding rule – that was picked apart on the philosophical dissecting table toward the middle of the last century by Ludwig Wittgenstein, and since has ceased to vex those inclined to contemplate such matters. Compare Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations ? 198, at 80e (G.E.M. Anscombe trans., 3rd ed. 1958) ( But how can a rule shew me what I have to do at this point? Whatever I do is, on some interpretation, in accord with the rule.”)

(Link from Steve Aftergood, who characterized the judge as having written “triumphantly and with thrilling erudition.”)