Conservatives are wailing and wringing their hands over the Supreme Court’s ruling that Guantanamo detainees are entitled to challenge their detention. John McCain hyperbolically called it one of the worst decisions in history.
I’m not sure why people (even conservatives) think this is so horrible. If, as John McCain asserts, these are “bad people”, then judges will agree that they can be detained. It will take time to hear those cases, and the government will have to defend their detention. But if these men are as bad as we say, then judges will agree to hold them. We are not in danger here of some kind of Get Out of Jail Free card. Mention has been made a few times of their food being an issue in these cases. Oh, please. Let’s give federal judges some credit here.
McCain said it was “terribly unfortunate because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases”. We’ve been holding some of these people for six years. As near as I can tell, the only thing keeping us from adjudicating their cases is the extensive process the Bush Administration has undertaken to invent a parallel legal system outside the U.S. Constitution.
Perhaps it is no surprise, but I agree with what Obama said about the decision:
This is an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.
The majority in Boumediene (the liberal bloc + Kennedy) knew how they wanted to decide, they just needed to figure out a way to get there.
But Andrew, I wonder on what grounds you think the judges will let these detainees free? Is our case against them so slim that you really think they will be released once their cases are exposed to light?
I hope you are wrong about the result of this decision being that we move away from the application of considered justice. I'd like to think that we are right that they are bad guys, and that we have cases against them that will hold up to scrutiny...
So, the government either has to choose between a civilian trial (with all the OJ-like circus) or potentially killing an operative.
A reverse question: what was so improper about a military tribunal? They are equipped to handle classified evidence without disclosure to the press. Are you saying that there is no way that these choirboys can get fair trials from the military? My, what a low opinion you must have of our military institutions.
Also, andrew, your false dichotomies do not lend your arguments credit. Terrorist fearmongering, such as silly "trial = the death of intelligence" carping, is tired.
The second error in my view is the extraterritoriality of the decision. The Court in extending habeas pretty much took them out of the military realm. I would view it at that point that US law would not extend to a party captured and detained in another country as there is no chain of jurisdiction.
Its a bad decison for reasons other than these suckers getting released. That is bad enough as it is.
(Cheney)Bush tried to pull a Nuremberg, he failed. Which, considering that up to that point he had full support from pretty much everyone in the rest of the world, is a fenomenal achievement. This sentence will do for foreign relations much more than dozens of useless presidential visits abroad; you should be happy about it.
Above all, we point to the Constitution as the thing that has kept us from being like our Latin American neighbors, with revolution after revolution, death squads and dictators. The Constitution prevents us from becoming the next Nazi Germany or Communist China. Take that away, and we are one power-mad leader away.
REAL conservatives always were and still are against these "extra-constitutional" and extra-legal practices, simply because the Constitution applies to the actions of our government, whether here or abroad. Don't think for a moment that the officers behind the Guantanamo camps and Abu Gharaib scandal won't retire and become police chiefs or heads of corporate security somewhere. We should have stopped this before it started, or failing that, as soon as it was revealed. It is to our shame that we haven't stopped it yet and that we actually have people arguing against stopping it.
Andrew, you have it wrong. The evidence is classified because the evidence is mostly crap. They're not revealing it because it won't stand sunlight. Most of the people confined at Gitmo were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Some were outright sold to us as terrorists by enemies.
How can you assert the evidence is crap? If it is classified you have not seen it.
And does habeas apply only to people on U.S. soil? That is the big question. As far as I'm concerned if you surrender in a war, you're a POW, not a detainee of the state. The rules certainly should be different for the two, imo.
The detainees aren't currently allowed to see the evidence against them. One prosecutor quit because he objected to allowing evidence obtained by torture. There have been efforts to rush the prosecutions so as to get them out of the way before the 2008 US presidential campaign.
BTW, the Bush administration has been to quite a lot of trouble to deny the Gitmo detainees POW status. I don't insist on POW status for them, but locking them up forever with no chance exonerate themselves is just wrong.
If the US wants to be taken seriously in the world as an advocate for democracy, we need to fix this mess.
In Hamdan versus Rumsfeld, the court ruled that the executive did not have the right to go through with military tribunals but it could be granted that right from Congress. Congress then bestowed that right with the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Habeus corpus is in regards to people on US soil, which Gitmo is not. This is an usurping of power by the SCOTUS which rightfully belongs to the Executive and Legislative Branch. If you like separation of powers then you should agree with McCain.
they see there. And even in cases where the general public does know
a fair deal about a particular case - e.g. that some detainee's files
say that there is no evidence against him whatsoever - then nobody seems
to give a damn. In other cases there is some evidence against a guy,
and he's being released because he happens to be a Brit, and Tony B
ask his pal George W B for a favo(u)r.
What was wrong with the goold old democratic court system?
That is why I said that Bush, Cheney, et al are not conservatives. They considered the Constitution an obstacle to get around, not the guiding principle that determines what they should do. Between politicizing the Supreme Court over the past twenty or thirty years and actions like torture at Guantanamo, Abu Gharaib, and other places, and the misguided and continued bailouts shielding bankers and other financial industry firms from the consequences of their incompetence, this nation's prospects do not look very well right now.
Add a comment: