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.”
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?