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June 18, 2008

Supreme Court on detainees

The U.S. Supreme Court held that the rule of law and our Constitution apply to those wretches at Guantanamo Bay who have been locked away for many years without counsel, due process, or even knowing the "evidence" by which they are being held.

Said evidence, of course, is much too secret for them or the public to know.

I don’t doubt that there are prisoners at Guantanamo who fought against the United States, and probably even some who participated in bombings and kidnappings.

Of course, during World War II, people who did such actions in occupied Europe were lauded as heroes by the Allies. It all depends on whose ox is getting gored.

The razor-thin basis by which this ruling was made is a frightening reminder of the kind of people Bush has put on the Supreme Court.

Richard L. Warrick
Lawrence, Kan.

Comments

katman

Since the Supreme Court favored 'due process' for detainees by 5 to 4 decision, I'm at a loss to even think about how they might rule on same sex marriages if given the chance.

katman

I think your logic is genuinely flawed. If you are an attorney, you might be risking the loss of your license or better yet your practice.

I answered your question even though it wasn't the answer you wanted to hear.

mdinaz

"Seems hard to reconcile "due process" for someone like bin Laden, but unlimited detention for anyone the government deems to be an "enemy combatant" with little or no evidence."

Which gives more incentive for groups to not wear uniforms nor be representatives of any particular government. Without evidence of origin of nationality or purpose, even a terrorist cannot be labeled a "combatant" if he happens to be caught while taking a whiz in the desert. And if he is caught with weapons, he is now entitled to Constitutional benefits and a speedy trial. Considering we're dealing with events thousands of miles away and in hostile, remote areas, gathering sufficient evidence and witnesses could take months, if not years. And a jury of his peers? Where do we find that - in Dearborn, MI? Now multiply that by thousands of cases, and the whole process dies.

Marctnts

I have no idea what Obama's "Change and Hope" platform is really all about. I'm not a supporter of the man.

We did not expect trial for the 444 because we never agreed that were rightfully taken. By your example, I would assume that you consider the prisoners at Guantanomo to be hostages, and rightful ones at that. Additionally, I would assume that you felt it was okay for the 444 to be held. Sorry, your example is a poor attempt to dodge answering the question.

Do you not agree that how we treat foreign nationals will have a direct effect on how our citizenry is treated abroad, or do you simply think that "It's okay for us to do it, but it's not okay for them". Try applying logic to that argument.

No matter what is being discussed, the Golden Rule is always a good example to follow.

katman

Your question is fallacious. Under Jimmy Carter the Iranians held 52 of our civilians hostage for 444 days. There were no trials and I recall we didn't expect trials. Of course, Carter was waiting for intervention from GOD. We didn't nothing to free the hostages except one small abortive rescue attempt.

The hostages were not enemy combatants and were treated in conditions that make GITMO look like a country club.

I hope that answers your question. I hope & pray tht Obama doesn't plan to use the "Golden Rule" approach to foreign relations.

Since we are on the subject of Q & A, tell me what do CHANGE & HOPE mean in the context of Obama's platform.

Marctnts

You still haven't answered my question...

katman

Speed reading specialist, Evelyn Woods, is on vacation & I haven't the time nor inclination to wade thru the BS.

"Don't misunderstand. I believe that most of the men in Guantanomo Bay are guilty of crimes against the US. If this is the case, why not try them to determine guilt instead of holding them without due process."

Next WITNESS please. C'mon! I'd rather leave three innocent detainees at Gitmo rather than releasing a single guilty one.

Never use the word 'FAIR' when talking about due process & habeas corpus.

Jim

"All of you leftists who favor this travesty of justice, do you favor Osama bin Laden being presumed innocent? Don't answer that."

I'll be happy to answer it: no.

But I seem to remember a certain presidential candidate saying earlier this year that bin Laden should get "due process."

That candidate was Fred Thompson, who was between naps at the time.

Seems hard to reconcile "due process" for someone like bin Laden, but unlimited detention for anyone the government deems to be an "enemy combatant" with little or no evidence.

Marctnts

My question has not been answered. Suppose you were picked up off the street of New York, flown to Iran, and held for years without rights because that country had determined you were somehow involved with an organization the Iranian government felt was the enemy? Would this be just treatment?

I'm not advocating letting all of the prisoners go. What I am advocating is due process by which determination can be made as to whether or not a prisoner should remain in custody. Surely no one hear thinks that the government is right 100% of the time, and how would you feel if you or yours were the victim of a government error with no opportunity for recourse?

mdinaz

Sorry for my hysteria, Jim. Your rational, enlightened calm is a model for us all.

What the decision does is grant Constitutional rights to have a hearing before a US Court challenging detention given to non-citizens and enemy combatants. In essence, it eliminates the term "enemy combatant" because they are now under the jurisdiction of US courts and have Constitutional rights. This means that ANY prisoner of war now has rights to US courts. This could eventually amount to tens of thousands or more cases in US courts ill-equipped to handle cases such as these. And since Constitutional rights includes "rights to a speedy trial", POWs not charged within weeks would have to be released back to the battlefield.
Scalia himself says that this ruling will "establish a manipulable “functional” test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other Constitutional protections as well)". In short, all Constitutional protections afforded to citizens. He adds in his dissent that "It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner." George Will admits to what Justice Roberts says: "The majority merely replaces a review system designed by the people's representatives with a set of shapeless procedures to be defined by federal courts at some future date." Will adds that "Ideally, however, the defining will be by Congress, which will be graded by courts." He HOPES that's what will happen. In the meantime, several detainees have already filed briefs challenging their detention, including one of Bin Laden's right-hand men.

Since any enemy prisoner qualifies, there is even less incentive for uniformed combatants to exist - since we've defined down the definition of "enemy soldiers" in the Geneva Convention and now this, there no longer is any reason for any state to uniform and organize their soldiers - any thug with a rifle will do, as they are now all afforded protections under US law, no matter where they are or what they are doing. George Will never addresses one simple point: these detainees are not US citizens, unlike the examples he uses to argue his point.

Sorry Jim, you're wrong.

Mark Robertson

That would be the great Antonin Scalia.
Thankyou.

Mark Robertson
Independence

Mark Robertson

Right, I'm sure there aren't any judges who have sympathy for the terrorists. Yes they would base their ruling on sympathy or hatred of George Bush.
The issue is not muddy at all. These people should not be allowed anywhere near U.S. courtrooms.
Congress and President passed such a law guaranteeing this. Of course the 5 dangerous kooks on the Supreme Court know better.(Unfortunately 3 were appointed by Republicans)
This ruling is an abomination, and as the great Antonin said, this ruling will get people killed.
All of you leftists who favor this travesty of justice, do you favor Osama bin Laden being presumed innocent? Don't answer that. Thankyou.

Mark Robertson
Independence

Jim

"You're right - give 'em rights, give 'em trials, cut 'em loose, and let them finish the job like they did between the '93 and 2001 WTC bombings."

It's obvious you haven't read the decision, nor do you even have the slightest idea what it means.

Flaming liberal and terrorist sympathizer George Will debunks your ignorant hysteria quite well:

"The purpose of a writ of habeas corpus is to cause a government to release a prisoner or show through due process why the prisoner should be held. Of Guantanamo's approximately 270 detainees, many certainly are dangerous "enemy combatants." Some probably are not. None will be released by the court's decision, which does not even guarantee a right to a hearing. Rather, it guarantees only a right to request a hearing. Courts retain considerable discretion regarding such requests."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/16/AR2008061602041.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Marctnts

The issue is a little more "muddy" than people want to realize. In our current "war", there is no enemy nation whose citizens can automatically be considered enemy combatants. Our enemies are a loose collection of individuals with a variety of different citizenships.

While I don't think that our constitution was ever intended to apply to foreign nationals, I can see where the current situation could be abused. To this point, we have been able to pick up someone off the street of another country (no matter which one), claim they are associated in some way with terrorist activity, and hold them for years with no real process to determine guilt or move the process forward. How would a US citizen feel if they were picked up off the street of New York, flown to Iran, and held for years without rights because that country had determined they were somehow involved with an organization the Iranian government felt was the enemy.

Don't misunderstand. I believe that most of the men in Guantanomo Bay are guilty of crimes against the US. If this is the case, why not try them to determine guilt instead of holding them without due process.

mdinaz

"he razor-thin basis by which this ruling was made is a frightening reminder of the kind of people Bush has put on the Supreme Court."

Wow, another prescient letter. You're right - give 'em rights, give 'em trials, cut 'em loose, and let them finish the job like they did between the '93 and 2001 WTC bombings. We'll just sit here and wait for the next bombings so we can arrest them and show them who's boss. Smart!

katman

Sorry, I seem to have stuttered. Did not post twice for emphasis.

katman

War is Hell! That's why we have a separate Military Code of Justice. When our Constitution was originaly drafted, it wasn't meant to cover the British, French, & others -- especially 'military combatants'. We have military tribunals to cover these 'crimes & criinals'.

In the military we are taught 'shoot now and ask questions later' & 'take no prisoners'.

katman

War is Hell! That's why we have a separate Military Code of Justice. When our Constitution was originaly drafted, it wasn't meant to cover the British, French, & others -- especially 'military combatants'. We have military tribunals to cover these 'crimes & criinals'.

In the military we are taught 'shoot now and ask questions later' & 'take no prisoners'.

 
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