Monday, June 28, 2004

Alberto? Write Me Up a Memo Saying I Have the Inherent Power to Ignore These Nine Dicks 

Jeez, next thing you know they'll be telling the Imperial Prez he has to respect our treaty obligations. From the Washington Post:
The Supreme Court's complicated holdings in three cases involving detainees from the battle against terrorism may not result in any prisoners going free -- the justices yesterday left that for lower courts or tribunals to decide.

But the opinions, concurrences and dissents were decisive on this: They represent a nearly unanimous repudiation of the Bush administration's sweeping claims to power over those captives.

Liberal or conservative mattered little in the ultimate outcome. The court roundly rejected the president's assertion that, in time of war, he can order the "potentially indefinite detention of individuals who claim to be wholly innocent of wrongdoing," to quote the court's opinion in the case of foreign prisoners held at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In fact, the administration's claim to such power over U.S. citizens produced an opinion signed by perhaps the court's most conservative justice, Antonin Scalia, and possibly its most liberal, John Paul Stevens.

"The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive," Scalia wrote, with Stevens's support.

In this way, the court's rejection of the executive-power arguments in the cases might be seen as part of a reemergence of the other branches of government from the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As the justices suggested several times in their opinions, emergency measures that might have been within the president's power in the days and weeks just after 9/11 now must be reconciled withAmerican norms of due process. In that sense, the cases struck a chord with congressional hearings into the rules for prisoner interrogations at U.S. prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . .
One justice demurred, basing his opinion on that secret, jealously guarded version of the Constitution no one else has ever seen, because he keeps it hidden so far up his ass:
Only Justice Clarence Thomas embraced the administration's positions without reservation, referring in a dissenting opinion to "the breadth of the President's authority to detain enemy combatants, an authority that includes making virtually conclusive factual findings" that the Supreme Court is powerless to "second-guess."
UPDATE: Almost forgot to mention -- you (still) have the right to remain silent.

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