Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
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A rare victory against Bush-Cheney Friendly Fascism
The dreaded "MSM" continues its onslaught:
A Victory for the Rule of Law
The New York Times
Published: June 30, 2006
The Supreme Court's decision striking down the military tribunals set up to try the detainees being held in GuantĂˇnamo Bay is far more than a narrow ruling on the issue of military courts. It is an important and welcome reaffirmation that even in times of war, the law is what the Constitution, the statute books and the Geneva Conventions say it is â€” not what the president wants it to be.
Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni being held in GuantĂˇnamo, has been charged with conspiring to help Al Qaeda. The Bush administration has contended that he and the other prisoners there are not covered either by Congressional laws governing military trials or by the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners of war. Instead, Mr. Hamdan was put on trial before a military tribunal where defendants can be excluded from the proceedings and convicted based on evidence kept secret from them and their lawyers. Prosecutors can also rely on hearsay, coerced testimony and unsworn statements.
The Supreme Court held that these rules violate the standards Congress set in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which requires tribunals to offer the same protections, whenever practicable, as other military trials. It also ruled that the tribunals fall short of the kind of trial required by the Geneva Conventions. It rejected the administration's claim that these venerable international standards cannot be invoked in an American court.
The Bush administration could go to Congress and ask for a special law that allowed it to create a unique system of justice for GuantĂˇnamo detainees. That is an argument for another day. The message of this ruling is that the executive branch cannot continue in its remarkable insistence that because there is a war on terror, it no longer needs to follow established procedures that would subject it to scrutiny by another branch of government. The justices rejected the administration's constant refrain â€” made in everything from its "enemy combatant" policies to its defense of the National Security Agency's domestic spying â€” that the authority Congress granted the president to use force after Sept. 11, the exigencies of wartime, or simply the inherent powers of the presidency allow President Bush to trample on existing laws as he sees fit.
The key to the decision was the court's swing justice, Anthony Kennedy. He provided the fifth vote for the majority, and wrote a separate opinion that eloquently distilled the key principles: that "respect for laws" duly passed by Congress and signed into law by the president is particularly necessary in times of crisis, and that "the Constitution is best preserved by reliance on standards tested over time and insulated from the pressures of the moment."
This is the latest in a series of rebukes to the Bush administration. The court has already rejected its claim that the GuantĂˇnamo detainees have no right to be heard in American courts, and that an American citizen designated an enemy combatant can be held indefinitely without being brought before a judge.
The current conservative court is not hostile to law enforcement or presidential power. But it is proving to be admirably protective of individual freedom and the rule of law. Rather than continue having his policies struck down, President Bush should find a way to prosecute the war on terror within the bounds of the law.