Monday, June 28, 2004

Sorry George, This Is Still America

The Supreme Court, in two rulings issued this morning, in effect said to the Deserter "sorry, mein Deserter, but this is still America," holding that suspected terror detainees have recourse to U.S. courts to challenge their detention. The Bush administration's shocking assertion that terror detainees, including American citizens, have no recourse to the courts has been roundly rejected.

The Bush administration's brief filed in connection with the Rasul case echoed the now notorious memo authored by Jay S. Bybee, former assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, arguing that Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution grants the President, as commander-in-chief, unfettered discretion with respect to the detention of suspected terrorists and their treatment while in detention. In many ways, this absurdly broad reading of the commander-in-chief powers granted to the President under the constitution was more shocking than the twisted ruminations in the Bybee memo on torture. It was shocking because the kind of bizarre reading of the commander-in-chief powers urged by Bybee and by the Bush administration in the Rasul brief would certainly form the basis of any attempt by a U.S. president to suspend our liberties during the pendency of an "emergency." The Bush administration attempted to take a constitutional provision plainly designed to establish civilian control over the military and use it as an instrument to permit the President to suspend the bill of rights.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the court has "made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

Touche, Sandy. This is, after all, still the United States of America, despite the best efforts of the Deserter and his flying monkeys to destroy our republic.


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