30 April 2007

Hamdan Denied

The last major detainee case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court was denied cert today, on the same 6-3 basis as the previous one. Liberal Justice Stevens voted not to grant cert, probably, again, because he didn't trust Justice Kennedy to vote the right way on the merits. I personally think that Justice Stevens made the wrong call both times at grave cost to the integrity of the Constitution.

Bottom line: The Military Commissions Act of 2006 has successfully shut down almost all legal avenues to challenge indefinite executive detention and mistreatment of those detainees, despite the fact that the 2-1 D.C. Circuit ruling upholding the law seemed to defy previous war on terror precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kangaroo court Combat Status Review hearings, and procedurally deficient Military Commissions for the 3% or so of detainees who may face war crime charges (under a statutorily greatly expanded definition of war crimes), are all that remain. The MCA provides for exceedingly limited review by the D.C. Circuit, whose past precedents seem to foreclose relief in any case.

The doors of the court house are definitively closed now. The international embarassment that is the Bush Administration enemy combatant policy is now a deep threat to the liberty of all of us, and the only way anything can be done about it is through Congressional action, something unlikely to prevail in the face of President Bush's power to veto legislation.

We have been deeply betrayed by Senator Ken Salazar, and Congressman John Salazar from Colorado whose critical swing votes helped make this possible. They gambled on the courts fixing the flaws they knew about in the MCA when they voted for it. But, the gamble was lost. Their votes to sold out our freedoms by voting for the MCA.

I hurts to know that even the Democrats in Congress from Colorado are torture enablers. When I worked hard campaigning for Ken Salazar in 2004, I'd had every reason to hope for a better performance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Habeas Corpus Delicto:

“The law is an ass,” and lawyers are…. well, let us just say that they can be downright silly. Last week, Colorado Bar Association president Elizabeth Starrs pompously pontificated that our Constitution was “established to protect individuals’ rights,” and those rights are menaced by our indefinite detention of so-called "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay.

While the Great Writ of habeas corpus is essential to our liberty, it is but one small aspect of a more foundational principle: due process. For Colorado judges who don’t know -- and there are an awful lot of them! -- it is the right to be heard, the right to hear why, and the right to have that 'why' grounded in the “rule of law.” Due process has become an endangered species in American courtrooms, as our regime (it no longer deserves to be called our “government”) can do virtually anything it wants to you. Cops fabricate evidence, prosecutors suborn perjury, and judges openly flout the law with impunity, as district attorneys and attorneys general like Alberto Gonzales and John Suthers use their “discretion” to avoid prosecuting fellow "public servants," and government officials are blanketed in an impenetrable cloak of absolute immunity.

Imagine the spectacle of a judge deciding a case in which he was a defendant. It would have shocked the public conscience a century ago, but it happened in Colorado a mere eighteen months ago. Despite the fact that thirty other independent judges were legally authorized to hear the case, this judge decided it anyway -- and you can guess as to how it turned out. This is "first-degree official misconduct" under Colorado law, with every salient fact indelibly established in the public record, but Denver district attorney Mitch Morrissey used his “discretion” to not prosecute the judge, because he knows he will need a favor from that judge one day.

“When a lawyer … takes the oath of office, he or she promises to uphold and support the Constitution.” While it is difficult to ascertain where Ms. Starrs, Mr. Morrissey, or the other craven invertebrates comprising the Colorado Bar were when the crime was committed, it can safely be said that the Bill of Rights is dead … and that rigor mortis has set in. In that harsh environment, habeas corpus probably won’t be missed.