GermanStar - 12/22/2005 9:26 AM
I don't suppose that Padilla can sue GW and Ashcroft personally. I'd laugh my arse off if he bankrupted both of them. Hell, three years in solitary confinement and all the government has to offer up is a big "ooops". That ought to be worth some serious cashola.
Bot, you don't think the government got away with holding a U.S. citizen without filing charges for three years? Tell that to Jose Padilla.
Like I said, I wouldn't characterize it in that way.
The Executive's primary duty is to protect and defend us against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Secondarily, it's duty is everything else. All rights and privileges are therefore of secondary importance to the Executive. And this is why we have a system of checks and balances.
The Judiciary and Congress offer protection from Executive over-extension. The Judiciary, by reminding the Exec of its secondary responsibilities. The Congress, by enacting legislation circumscribing Executive power.
There is no hard, black line that defines these roles. Instead, there is fluidity of understanding as new circumstances reveal themselves.
The Exec followed what it believed to be accepted law and precedent in holding an enemy combatant. It argued that Padilla's status as enemy combatant was more important than Padilla's status as a citizen. The Executive and Padilla argued over this for 3 years. The Executive finally lost in court and now has to treat Padilla as a citizen firsta nd combatant, second.
This legally reduced the Executive's power. How can that be bad?