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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Hamdi, Padilla, Rasul, You 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot M.D.: Elaine Cassel argues compellingly that, despite generally cheery media coverage of the Supreme Court's Monday rulings (or non-rulings) in the Hamdi, Rasul and Padilla cases, the Constitution -- and your civil liberties -- sustained a series of crippling body blows:
Forget what the media’s talking heads have told you about these three Supreme Court decisions that tested the power of George W. Bush. The President won far more than he lost, so administration “officials” who pronounce themselves victors are more on target than the press who tell you that the decisions represent a defeat for the Administration, or rein in its power. Taken together, the decisions are more important for what they did not do. Their significance for the future, particularly if Bush is reelected, cannot be underestimated . . . .

Reading the cases and placing them in the context of the “war on terror” supports a view that is admittedly contrary to what mainstream media are saying. But if you have been listening to them since September 11, you don’t know much about what has happened to the legal system in this country, all in the name of preserving liberty. In these three cases, the Supreme Court did not want to totally abrogate its responsibility (except for one Justice, Thomas, who, as a reluctant justice on a court he often expresses contempt for, not surprisingly wants to be left out of any judicial interference with the almighty President) or the Constitution so it threw a vote or two in the direction of the Constitution.

But it left plenty of room for this despotic President, and all who follow him (you think Kerry cares about civil liberties? You think he would not want the same power Bush is wielding?) to incarcerate Americans at whim, concoct a story about “fighting” against American, and dare you, just dare you, to try your luck at proving your innocence.

Oh, about that? Finally, we have the Supreme Court, in the Hamdi case, putting the lie to that myth. There is no presumption of innocence—not if you are Hamdi. There is no mercy—not if the government moves you around so you never know whom to sue. There is a cruel hint at mercy for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners—file your papers, but tell your family to abandon hope. You aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Game, set, match to George Bush.

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