Jun 29, 2006

Scalito and Thomas bend it for Bush

Everyone's talking about the backhanded pimpslap the Supreme Court gave Bush today when they voted 5-3 to reject his plan to try Guantanamo prisoners in front of a tribunal. From the NYT:
A principal flaw the court found in the commissions was that the president had established them without Congressional authorization.

The decision was such a sweeping and categorical defeat for the administration that it left human rights lawyers who have pressed this and other cases on behalf of Guantánamo detainees almost speechless with surprise and delight, using words like "fantastic," "amazing" and "remarkable."
You know what I find remarkable? The fact that Justices Scalia and Thomas have evidently flipped their lids, pretty much abdicating their responsibilities as a check on the other two branches of government:
It is not clear where the court derives the authority — or the audacity — to contradict" Congress and the executive branch, Scalia wrote.

Thomas, reading a dissent from the bench for only the second time in his nearly 15-year career, said the court's decision would "sorely hamper the president's ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy."
C'mon guys, are you Supreme Court justices, or senators up for re-election?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am depressed by the vapidity of your elation.

I have read most of the Hamdan decision. Despite all the "fantastic", "amazing", "remarkable" hyperventilations, the decision actually applies only to Hamdan and it only says that if he is to be tried by a commission, POTUS must get a specific charter from the Congress. That may not be too difficult to achieve.

Thankfully, Hamdan is likely to remain a guest at Club GITMO for a long time. Especially since the decision says nothing about GITMO itself.

In some ways this twisted SCOTUS verbiage simplifies the Commander in Chief's difficult security problems regarding the disposition of terrorist flotsam.

I actually fear that an unintended effect of this weak decision may be to encourage a "take no prisoners" attitude during combat. Knowing that these unrepentant Jihadist killers will receive unwarranted legal protections may drive a brave soldier (protecting your unfettered pursuit of blissful San Francisco ignorance) to think twice about taking prisoners. The jihadists are not currently protected under the Conventions.

The fact that we take any Jihadist prisoners at all is remarkable. Most nations in similar situations wouldn't bother. Islamofascists certainly don't take prisoners pursuant to the Conventions. By applying the Conventions to them, there is no longer any semblance of a constraint on the savagery of their actions. Maybe you should watch one of their "slaughter" videos with the sound on. You will understand then what Islamofascism really means.

On the other hand, applying the Conventions, even in part, also means that every Jihadist captured in combat is now a war criminal by definition. Sounds useful to me...

I can only hope you will never experience the shock of learning that you've been rooting for the bad guys all this time.

One Man's Opinion

qubit said...

Wow, that is some impressive recto-cranial inversion there, Anonymous Coward. How did you become that flexible? Do you do yoga or some other kind of liberal fucking bullshit?

I just love how you want it both ways -- they ("they" probably meaning all those dusky furriners, since if we murder or kidnap them, they must be jihadists) aren't human beings under Article 3, according to you, so we can torture and kill as we please, but then you want them to be bound by the same conventions you want us to abrogate.

On the topic of war crimes, the SCOTUS descision was abundantly clear that the Administration was in violation of Article 3 (and its statutory duty to abide by it), which, by definition, makes them war criminals. Admittedly, there is the depressing fact that only war crimes against Americans are punishable - by death, I might add - under the War Crimes Act (18USC2441), but they committed war crimes regardless.

The big deal about this ruling, of course, is that your beloved King George III had his divine right of kings slapped down and has to at least follow a kibuki ritual resembling small-r republicanism to change laws he doesn't like -- he can't just ignore laws, treaties, and the Constitution whenever he feels like it.

I can only hope you will soon experience the shock of learning that you've been rooting for totalitarianism and inhuman sadism all this time, and maybe, just maybe, will become a decent human being.

Laurie said...

Dear Anonymous:

If all of the Gitmo prisoners were being held with evidence of terrorist affiliation, however remote, your argument might hold a little water. That you label any possible "legal protections" for those who may be innocent as "unwarranted" is reminiscent of Henry VIII; if you say he's guilty, then by golly he must be. Off with his head!

No one's arguing that fundamentalist assholes haven't committed atrocities unimagined by more civilized societies. The point is, we ourselves become less civilized when we commit similar war crimes and less justified in our cause to rid the world of terror, however unrealistic that cause may be.

"I can only hope you will never experience the shock of learning that you've been rooting for the bad guys all this time. "

Is that you, Coulter?