A Bad day for Hamdan, A Worse Day for the Constitution

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, of the District of the District of Coumbia, today rendered his opinion in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, addressing the United States' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdication pursuant to the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Read the opinion and weep.

For the non-lawyers in the audience, the sum and substance of this opinion is that the thugs in Congress who wrote the Torture Act and their masters in the White House have won, and won big, today.  They managed to succeed in negating the power of the federal courts to consider habeas corpus applications, while still persuading the same federal courts they had not "suspended" the writ.  

Little difference, that, since a right (to habeas corpus) without the ability to seek a remedy (no power in any court to consider habeas) isn't much of a right at all.

How does Senator Specter, who voted for the Torture Act while being convinced it was both unconstitutional and would be tossed by the Courts, feel now that he has been proven wrong on both counts?

How does Senator McCain, who suffered so long and deeply at the hands of North Vietnamese torturers feel, since he has imported those same inhumanities to his beloved homeland?

I'd ask how Senator Tortureman, CFL-CT, feels, but I suppose he's getting wood over this, and the possibility that South Dakota's one Democratic senator is reported to have suffered a stroke this afternoon, and that a Repug governor in that state would result in a Repug controlled Senate, should the worst play out there.

I'd say a lot more, but it'd probably set off the profanity filters.  Suffice it to say, Judge Robertson does not, IMHO, deserve his office.  Not that his office matters much, anymore.

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    Tim Johnson (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 05:15:01 PM EST
    CNN says Tim Johnson was conscious when taken to hospital and suffering, according staff, from "stroke like" symptoms.

    Those may be good signs, and reasons for hope. I had what was considered a minor stroke quite a few years ago. I was only 25 at the time and lost my entire left side for about 12 days, but fully recovered with no paralysis by the end of two weeks. It was due to a snmall blocked artery. Caution: antihistames and other allergy medications can do this to you.

    Tim Johnson of course is more than twice the age I was, but sometimes these things can happen from a temporary aterial blockage that dissolves on its own.

    I wish Tim the best.


    Conscious is probably more than we can say for Judge James Robertson, who is probably moving only because his brain has quit but hasn't informed the rest of him.... like other MCA supporters.

    Scribe (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 05:16:50 PM EST
    How doe you think Robertsons decision affects prospects for Leahy and Specters' Habeas Corpus Restoration Act?

    re: effect on habeas restoration (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 05:32:12 PM EST
    No effect.  The central problem with passing their, or any, habeas restoration bill is that at some point it must be signed by The Unit.  He will not do that.  Thus, the only ways it can pass are (a) if it is appended to a must-pass budget bill, or (b) the President is neither Bush nor Cheney.

    If Robertson had a set, he would have struck down the Torture Act.  But he doesn't, so he didn't.


    The Federal Appeals Court... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 05:40:40 PM EST
    ...is still a possibility too, no?

    be serious (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 05:49:09 PM EST
    and look at the lineup of judges in the D.C. Cir.  By and large, they are all serious establishmentarian Repugs, deep-seated fixers.  Remember, they threw out Hamdan's case the first time around, too.

    Not much hope there, IMHO, either.


    Seriously (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 06:41:19 PM EST
    Thus, the only ways it can pass are (a) if it is appended to a must-pass budget bill,

    Instant signing statement and prime time showdown, no?

    or (b) the President is neither Bush nor Cheney.

    Looks like the only real way left.

    Then again, a future vindictive president could always declare Bush an 'enemy combatant' and send him to Cuba for a vacation while spending a couple of years considering whther the MCA should be done away with...

    Wha... oh, hi - yeah, I'm listening - I was just daydreaming there for a minute... sorry.


    This is (none / 0) (#6)
    by aw on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 06:14:20 PM EST

    I wrote angry letters to my senators, Lautenberg and Menendez (who both voted for this monstrous law).  I got a couple of letters from Menendez, which have been sitting unopened (why bother?)  I got this lame email from Lautenberg recently (emphasis mine):

    The primary objective of the Military Commissions Act is to set up the framework under which detainees can be charged and brought to trial. The military commissions will include elements of the law and rules of evidence used in general courts-martial by the military, in addition to specific requirements laid out in the legislation. I supported several amendments to the bill on the Senate floor. For example, I sought to restore the right of habeus corpus to allow detainees to challenge the factual and legal reasons for their detention. I was disappointed that this amendment failed by a vote of 48-51; however, I anticipate the Supreme Court will review this provision in the bill expeditiously.
    This legislation is not perfect, and I regret that efforts to amend it on the Senate floor were unsuccessful. But it has been more than five years since 9/11, and hundreds of detainees are being kept at Guantanamo Bay without charge and without trial. It is time to set the rules and move these trials forward. I will vigorously monitor how this and future Administrations apply this legislation and the requirements it sets forth, and I will not hesitate to speak out when the executive branch strays from the requirements of the law. In addition, I intend to work with my colleagues in the 110th Congress, which begins in January, to conduct strong oversight of this program and consider changes to this law to address any deficiencies.

    He's a part of the problem and he's a democrat from a democratic state.


    I also wrote to Lautenberg & Menendez (none / 0) (#8)
    by hellskitchen on Thu Dec 14, 2006 at 08:18:16 AM EST
    I got an answer from Menendez quickly.  Lautenberg's just arrived and lame, as you said.  Most of Menendez' justifications were lame, but he said that he would work toward restoration in the new congressional session.  

    I weep for our country.  What have we become?