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June 17, 2008

Supreme Court decision

Americans should give one another a big hug in celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision that the great writ of habeas corpus applies to detainees in Guantanamo.

For years we have seen the Bush administration attack our Constitution. As Alexander Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers: “The practice of arbitrary imprisonments, in all ages, is the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.”

Never has it been more true.

In rebuking both White House and Congress, Justice Kennedy eloquently stated: “The Framers’ inherent distrust of government power was the driving force behind the constitutional plan that allocated powers among three independent branches ... Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to separation of powers ... The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system, they are reconciled within the framework of law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, part of that law.”

Robert Lewis
Independence

Well, the Supreme Court’s recent partisan decision in favor of Gitmo detainees’ right to habeas corpus raises questions that I’m certain will spark creative legal squabbles in future.

These will clog our courts until exhaustively resolved at taxpayers’ expense.

Does this decision mean foreign nationals we are fighting enjoy the full Constitutional rights of law-abiding, taxpaying U.S. citizens?

Should Viet Cong POW’s have enjoyed these? North Koreans? Confederates? What’s the statute of limitations? Can foreign nationals now sue a U.S. president for compensation and argue their case before the Supreme Court?

Sam Gill
Kansas City

Comments

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

taibo: Do you not realize how many constitutional violatons scumbags like Obama, John Edwards, Hillary and Al Sharpton have endorsed and allowed?
It's double digit.

jack

taibojames: Bush ask congress for authorization just because the Constitution says he should? Where have you been the last few years?

The Lincoln arguement is as much a strawman now as ever. The Constitution makes provision for suspending habeus corpus in specific instances. One of them is in time of open rebellion against the government. Think that might apply to the Civil War?

eng: And one of the dissenters in this has publically stated he can find no constitutional protection against torture for the purpose of gaining information. That the only provision against torture is as punishment. So I geuss torturing "confessions" out of anyone the police think is guilty of something should also be allowed. Right?

Engineer

taibojames
" By the way, the dissent on the S.Ct. case is absurd and dumb". There are many of us that think just the reverse is true. In reading the Constitution I find nothing that says it applies to other than citizens. Article IV, Section 2 would seem to make it quite clear that it is citizens that are being considered.


taibojames

Like it matters. The Habeas statute is so freaking government friendly that it is nearly impossible to have the writ granted. Thus, 99.9999% of all petitions are denied without a hearing, without any sort of judicial proceeding, or any other of the most costly events in our judicial system.

Oh, Abe may have suspended habeas, but the Constitution clearly says that Congress has to suspend the writ. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court held that Lincoln's suspension was unconstitutional because it was without congressional authorization. It ended up being moot because when congress got back into session, they ratified all of Lincoln's measures.

So, if Bush wants to suspend the writ for anyone, anywhere, anytime, he needs to get congressional authority.

I am in no way surprised that Bush has ignored the constitution and we had to have the Supreme Court tell us what is already so obvious.

By the way, the dissent on the S.Ct. case is absurd and dumb.

Kate

I'm with Gary. Two to the chest, one to the head. Problem solved.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Habeus Corpus should apply in family courts if it applies to terrorists.

Gary

The solution is simple. Stop taking prisoners.

katman

Some issues seem to have no right answers. A 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision to uphold the writ of habeas corpus certainly exemplifies this. In my opinion, it's difficult to make a case that our Constitution and habeas corpus applies to everyone. The Geneva Convention defines 'enemy combatants' & clearly states they are not protected.

Abe Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. It's not our resonsibility to be all things to all people. Even if we were to extend due process to 'enemy combatants', there would be no way possible to give them a fair trial with witnesses & all. At best they should be given a military tribunal like a watered down version of the Nuremberg trials.

 
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