Thursday, June 29, 2006

Supreme Court Slaps Administration

From the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized by any act of Congress and that their structure and procedures violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion in the case, called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld . Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recused himself.

The ruling, which overturned a federal appeals court decision in which Roberts had participated, represented a defeat for President Bush, who had ordered military trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. About 450 detainees captured in the war on terrorism are currently held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Trying them before military commissions would place them under greater restrictions and afford them fewer rights than they would get in federal courts or regular military courts.

Bush said he would consult with Congress to seek "a way forward" after the ruling, which reversed the appeals court ruling on statutory grounds, avoiding major constitutional issues.

Answering questions at a news conference with the visiting Japanese prime minister, Bush said, "The American people need to know that this ruling, as I understand it, won't cause killers to be put out on the street. . . . I'm not going to jeopardize the safety of the American people. . . . I will protect the people and at the same time conform with the findings of the Supreme Court."

The Court is not saying Bush has to let "killers...out on the streets". The Court is saying the Gitmo detainees cannot be tried in military star chambers. According to Hamdan's attorney, this decision means that if the government wishes to try Mr. Hamdan, they will have to do it in either a federal court or before a properly constituted court martial. A dissenting opinion written by Justice Pubic Hair said the Supreme Court's willingness "to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous." Justice Stevens, however, wrote in the majority opinion

that although the Detainee Treatment Act implicitly recognizes the existence of the military commissions, it "contains no language authorizing that tribunal or any other at Guantanamo Bay." Moreover, neither the act nor a congressional authorization for the use of military force against terrorists in 2001 "expands the president's authority to convene military commissions."

In other words, these detainees have the right to a fair trial.

What a novel idea - forcing the Bush administration to abide by the law. Unfortunately there are four wankers on this Suprme Court ready, willing and able to give the Bush administration all the authority it wants to tear up the constitution, subjugate the other two branches of government and establish any old authoritarian precedents it wants in the name of the "war on terror." And the only thing standing in between those four wankers (Scalia, Scalito, Pubic Hair, and the Chief Justice) are Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, Justice Kennedy, Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg. If one of those five should go in the next two years and half years...

What a novel reading of the Geneva Conventions. It is this same judicial mind set that gave us the Kelo decision. I really do hope you take me up on our Second Amendment conversation.
ustice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion in the case

Ah...the other Chief Justice.

I just hope Bush provide the consititutional issue by attempting to use Detainee Treatment Act. Damn thing in and of itself is unconstitutional.
I was interested to see Britain had a similar finding on domestic suspect detentions.
It amazes me that people who are willing to see the rule of law and basic freedoms diluted, invariably fail to see how it can effect them.
Adolf new the drill.
Lindsay Graham said if the administration wants military tribunal trials for the Gitmo detainees, they should ask Congress to pass such a law.

If the Congress can ever finish with the gay marriage/violent video games/flag burning debates, maybe they can get around to passing the military tribunal law for Bush.
From the Times today:

"If they rule against the government, I don't see how that is going to affect us," the commander, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, said Tuesday evening as he sat in a conference room in his headquarters. "From my perspective, I think the direct impact will be negligible."

So they're gonna keep doing what they want, regardless of the court?

It's remarkable that this administration has so little regard for the law, and that the Pravda-like government news outlets like Fox are so widely accepted by the public.

The fact that they are now going after the New York Times in such a big way is more ominous than their usual flag-burning gay marriage diversionary nonsense.
Did you notice the part that this ruling overturns "Military Order No. 1?"

Military Order No. 1? Who does Bush think he is? Pol Pot?

I guest September 12th, 2001 is January 1st, 0000.
cartledge, I agree with you. I really do wonder about the people willing to sacrifice liberty for temporary security (and that's granting that you think the guys running the country actually are benefiting our temporary security.)

nyc, Craig Crawford says the "Attack the messenger" strategy has worked so well for them over the last 30 or so years that they just can't let it go. I do wonder why the NY Times got all the ire when the WSJ and the LA Times also published articles about the Bush financial tracking program.

praguetwin, great to hear from you again - and great point about 9/12/01 being 01/01 0000 for the administration - it's like everything that came before no longer matters.
The WSJ is immune, of course.

But if they ever were to take down the Times (CAn you believe we have a government even remotely contemplating such a thing?), there's be no more free press in this country.

There'd just be a free ride for the man who said it would be great if the US were a dictatorship, as long as he could be dictator.
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