Topic: The Law
SCOTUS - In league with the terrorists?
My conservative friends will bemoan all this, and say today's decisions from the Supreme Court just show that the nation is disintegrating as we are now told by activists judges not to trust the president. Maybe so.
But the Supreme Court today ruled that those foreign folks we've held at Guant?namo Bay in Cuba for almost two and a half years now - without charges, with no access to anyone - can challenge their detention. It seems the idea presented by the attorneys for the administration, that neither our laws nor any international laws or treaties applied here, was not a winner. Perhaps the photographs from the Baghdad prison played a part in all this - but perhaps not.
The issue came down to the administration saying that in time of war, even if there is no formal declaration of such, the president, as commander-in-chief, can, because it is his job to protect us all, claim some folks to be "enemy combatants" that fall completely outside the law. And we can do anything we want to them. We have to. They may know things. They could be dangerous. Due process is a luxury. They are terrorists and not aligned to any particular government, so they cannot be prisoners of war. Are they criminals? No. Perhaps not yet, But they could be folks who would do really bad things if we let them.
And if those detained happened to be US citizens - apprehended here or on some foreign battlefield? The administration claimed that made no difference. You had to allow the president this option - holding them forever with no charges, no questions asked - or we all could die. This was just common sense.
The Supreme Court wasn't buying it.
The Associated Press story reviewing all this is here - and Reuters covers it here.
Oh? Why? Don't they trust the president?
No. Reuters quotes from Justice O'Connor's opinion:
No blank check, huh?
I imagine Dick Cheney has a few choice words for Sandy now, not just for the senior senator from Vermont.
As for non-citizens, this was covered in Rasul v. Bush opinion today - and that's here (in PDF format).
There you'll find -
Geez, keeping these guys in Cuba and saying our laws didn't apply there - as it wasn't really part of the United States? No dice.
What to make of all this? It seems the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has something to say. Like this:
The court also decided two Miranda cases today. Bottom line? - "The Court holds that physical fruits of a Miranda violation don't get suppressed but that purposeful Miranda violations vitiate a subsequent confession."
Justices Warn Police on Coercion Tactic
June 28, 12:47 PM (ET) - Gina Holland for the Associated Press
Once more. Huh?
Well, I do have a friend who has argued, and does still argue, in front of the Supreme Court. Perhaps she can clear this up.
All in all, today's "enemy combatant" decisions are a blow to those who say don't sweat the details and just trust Bush and his crew, or is that just trust Cheney and his crew - which happens to sometimes include Bush? Whatever. They will say the court is now endangering our lives - and making us play nice with those who just want to kill us all. And something should be done. The line will be, as it has been for some time, that liberals always want to play fair and that's too dangerous these days.
So I won't listen to talk radio for the next few days.
Much of the background above was found through links and comments at this site. Check it out. Real lawyers might find it silly. The rest of us often need a little more explanation.