02 April 2007

A Failed Judiciary

The judiciary has failed to provide any judicial review to detainees at Guantanamo Bay. It left in place a lower court ruling holding that there is no habeas corpus jurisdiction over Guantanamo Bay, expressions to the contrary from the U.S. Surpeme Court in Rasul notwithstanding. Instead, that parties seeking habeas corpus review since before the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 was passed, were left to the devices of Combat Status Review Tribunals that refuse to even tell detainees the basis of their detention after five years. In other words, the government has a right to detain indefinitely, without any charge or well articulated basis, subject to kangaroo military court review only, any non-citizen it deems fit, without court intervention.

Likewise, a recent U.S. District Court ruling held that the American government may intentionally commit grave acts of torture on foreign nationals abroad in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the laws of war, in a cruel and unusual matter without any due process whatsoever, with impunity, free of any civil liability or legal intervention.

It is also the law of the land that anyone brought to the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, even if he is a U.S. citizen, arrested unarmed in an American airport, may, on the President's say so alone, without recourse to the courts, be detained indefinitely.

The judicial branch has ceased to exist as a check on government abuse of individual rights. It is a dead letter. The once proud American courts are now merely a shadow of their former selves.

We've made it to the end of the road in a long convoluted legal process, and the U.S. Supreme Court has provided nothing but an empty threat. The constitution is dead. Habeas corpus is dead. Liberty is now only a matter of grace, and not of right.

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