DC Circuit Rules Constitutional Habeas Does Not Extend To Guantanamo

In a divided 2-1 ruling, Boumediene v. Bush, a panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the "enemy alien" detainees at Guantanamo do not have a Constitutional right to a writ of habeas corpus. The decision is an exercise in disengenuity. It accepts as undisputed fact, with the merest discussion - that the detainees do not have a Constitutional habeas right because (1) Guantanamo is outside of the control of the US government in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court holding in Rasul and that (2) the detainees are "enemy aliens" for habeas purposes.

The DC Circuit concedes at fn. 8 that in fact the detainees are NOT enemy aliens, but that it does not matter anyway - thus standing Eisentrager on its head. And this is not insignificant - for the reasoning could be read to allow the Executive to detain American citizens outside US territory as well.

Consider this language:

[U]nder the common law [habeas corpus], the dispositive fact was not a petiotioner's alien enemy status, but his lack of presence within any sovereign territory.

In essence, the DC Circuit adopts the flawed thinking of Judge Robertson's Hamdan decision. The key passage begins at p. 17 of the DC Circuit opinion. Just like Robertson, the DC Circuit misreads Eisentrager and Rasul. The DC Circuit has now perversely opined that, with regard to the Great Writ, the Congressional power extends to jurisdictions that the Constitution did not. Ironic in light of the view of the Unitary Executive and the all powerful wartime Commander in Chief.

As did Judge Robertson in his Hamdan decision, the DC Circuit panel chooses to ignore the reasoning of the SCOTUS in Eisentrager and Rasul . Previously I wrote:

In analyzing whether Hamdan was entitled to petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Judge Robertson, citing Eisentrager, wrote:

The Supreme Court held that [the petitioners] were not entitled to habeas relief . . . for these prisoners at no relevant time were within any territory over which the United States is sovereign, and the scenes of their offense, their capture, their trial and their punishment were all beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States.

But that clearly was not the case for Hamdan, who was held in Guantanamo, which the Supreme Court ruled in Rasul was US territory for habeas purposes:

“[T]he writ of habeas corpus does not act upon the prisoner who seeks relief, but upon the person who holds him in what is alleged to be unlawful custody,” a district court acts “within [its] respective jurisdiction” within the meaning of §2241 as long as “the custodian can be reached by service of process.” 410 U. S., at 494–495. . . .Putting Eisentrager and Ahrens to one side, respondents contend that we can discern a limit on §2241 through application of the “longstanding principle of American law” that congressional legislation is presumed not to have extraterritorial application unless such intent is clearly manifested. EEOC v. Arabian American Oil Co., 499 U. S. 244, 248 (1991). Whatever traction the presumption against extraterritoriality might have in other contexts, it certainly has no application to the operation of the habeas statute with respect to persons detained within “the territorial jurisdiction” of the United States. Foley Bros., Inc. v. Fi-lardo, 336 U. S. 281, 285 (1949). By the express terms of its agreements with Cuba, the United States exercises “complete jurisdiction and control” over the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and may continue to exercise such control permanently if it so chooses.

While Rasul was interpeting the reach of the habeas statute, it seems inconceivable to me that the Constitution's express mandate concerning the Great Writ would not reach as far as the the power of Congress to grant it. Historically, as the Rasul majority points out, it was not so. For the right to the great Writ extended as far as the King's power.

Clearly that could not be the basis for Judge Robertson's reasoning. Judge Robertson, simply glosses over this fact and continues his analysis, rebutting Hamdan's attempts to distinguish Eisentrager:

Here, however, as in Eisentrager, . . . Hamdan's exact affiliations is for our purposes, immaterial.

But is this what Eisentrager says? Hardly. What Eisentrager was referring to was whether the petitioners were civilian or military was immaterial, not that they were enemy aliens. Judge Robertson completely misconstrues Eisentrager on this point.

But now we come to Judge Robertson's most grievous error:

Hamdan's lengthy detention beyond American borders but within the jurisdictional authority of the United States is historically unique. Nevertheless, . . . his connection to the United States lacks the geographical and volitional predicates necessary to claim a constitutional right to habeas corpus.

This is simply a complete misreading of Eisentrager. What did Eisentrager say on this point?

We are here confronted with a decision whose basic premise is that these prisoners are entitled, as a constitutional right, to sue in some court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus. To support that assumption we must hold that a prisoner of our military authorities is constitutionally entitled to the writ, even though he (a) is an enemy alien; (b) has never been or resided in the United States; © was captured outside of our territory and there held in military custody as a prisoner of war; (d) was tried and convicted by a Military Commission sitting outside the United States; (e) for offenses against laws of war committed outside the United States; (f) and is at all times imprisoned outside the United States.

Look at the facts the Eisentrager Court is relying on - the petitioner ARE enemy aliens. The petitioners are being held OUTSIDE US territory. The petitioner were tried OUTSIDE of US territory. The petitioners were at all times imprisoned OUTSIDE of US territory.

None of these are accepted facts in Hamdan. And these are no mere details. They are central to the Eisentrager decision. It is the fact that the petitioners were enemy aliens - an undisputed fact - that is paramount in Eisentrager:

The prisoners rely, however, upon two decisions of this Court to get them over the threshold -- Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, and In re Yamashita, 327 U.S. 1. Reliance on the Quirin case is clearly mistaken. Those prisoners were in custody in the District of Columbia. One was, or claimed to be, a citizen. They were tried by a Military Commission sitting in the District of Columbia at a time when civil courts were open and functioning normally. They were arrested by civil authorities and the prosecution was personally directed by the Attorney General, a civilian prosecutor, for acts committed in the United States. . . . None of the places where they were acting, arrested, tried or imprisoned were, it was contended, in a zone of active military operations or under martial law or any other military control, and no circumstances justified transferring them from civil to military jurisdiction. None of these grave grounds for challenging military jurisdiction can be urged in the case now before us.

It is clear that Eisentrager is decided based upon the enemy alien status of the petitioners AND the lack of territorial nexus of the events, NOT because of the petitioners' failure to enmesh themselves in the United States.

The Constitution, if it applies, does not depend upon the actions of the person, but rather upon the actions of the government, as Rasul states. Judge Robertson writes of the "volition" of Hamdan, when it is the volition of the government which is the issue here. The government brought Hamdan to US territory. But according to Robertson's logic, Hamdan could have been held in prison in Washington, DC, but the Constitution would still not apply to him with regard to habeas corpus, whether an enemy alien or not. That simply does not square with Eisentrager, which relies principally on the fact tha the petitioners were indisputably enemy aliens:

Despite this, the doors of our courts have not been summarily closed upon these prisoners. Three courts have considered their application and have provided their counsel opportunity to advance every argument in their support and to show some reason in the petition why they should not be subject to the usual disabilities of nonresident enemy aliens. This is the same preliminary hearing as to sufficiency of application that was extended in Quirin, supra, Yamashita, supra, and Hirota v. MacArthur, 338 U.S. 197. After hearing all contentions they have seen fit to advance and considering every contention we can base on their application and the holdings below, we arrive at the same conclusion the Court reached in each of those cases, viz.: that no right to the writ of habeas corpus appears.

. . . The doctrine that the term "any person" in the Fifth Amendment spreads its protection over alien enemies anywhere in the world engaged in hostilities against us, should be weighed in light of the full text of that Amendment . . . If this Amendment invests enemy aliens in unlawful hostile action against us with immunity from military trial, it puts them in a more protected position than our own soldiers. . . . Can there be any doubt that our foes would also have been excepted, but for the assumption "any person" would never be read to include those in arms against us? It would be a paradox indeed if what the Amendment denied to Americans it guaranteed to enemies. . . The decision below would extend coverage of our Constitution to nonresident alien enemies denied to resident alien enemies. The latter are entitled only to judicial hearing to determine what the petition of these prisoners admits: that they are really alien enemies. When that appears, those resident here may be deprived of liberty by Executive action without hearing. Ludecke v. Watkins, 335 U.S. 160. While this is preventive rather than punitive detention, no reason is apparent why an alien enemy charged with having committed a crime should have greater immunities from Executive action than one who it is only feared might at some future time commit a hostile act.

. . . We hold that the Constitution does not confer a right of personal security or an immunity from military trial and punishment upon an alien enemy engaged in the hostile service of a government at war with the United States.

The dissent in Eisentrager correctly points out that the majority indeed provides a pseudo-habeas review on the question of whether the petitioers are in fact enemy aliens, and also concedes that were they held and tried in United States territory, they would have a right to a habeas review, irrespective of their volition. But that is one of two points the majority made - the main one being that the petitioners were in fact admitted enemy aliens.

Judge Robertson's opinion obliterates this requirement and instead holds that any alien ALLEGED to be an enemy without the sufficient territorial nexus has no Constitutional right to petition for habeas relief. This rule would grant to the Executive the unilateral and plenary power to strip persons of their Constitutional rights by mere allegation.

Indeed, it is utterly antithetical to the Great Writ. Interestingly, it appears to me that there is likely strong evidence that Hamdan was in fact an enemy combatant - he was bin Laden's driver for crissake. Thus, he would be subject to military law - including the Geneva Conventions. But Judge Robertson's decision does not require such a finding and will do serious damage to the ability of detained aliens to obtain rulings on their prisoner of war status, to invoke Geneva or to prove that they are in fact NOT enemy aliens.

The dissent in this case presents an interesting argument, but one that I believe does not follow the correct reasoning, although reaching the correct result. In a subsequent post, I will analyze the dissent in Boumediene.

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    BTD (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 06:40:04 PM EST
    Big Tent.... I think most of us know that 2-1 is a divided ruling...

    For the Republicans in the audience Jim . . . (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:54:41 PM EST
    So (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 12:37:57 PM EST
    As long as the government takes the time to forcibly remove a citizen from the country (i.e. deport them without due process), it's free to torture them under the Constitution.

    Am I the only one who spots a tiny little problem with this reasoning?

    France (none / 0) (#2)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 01:13:13 PM EST
    should repossess the Statue of Liberty.

    The Statue of Liberty is ours... (none / 0) (#4)
    by unbill on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 02:37:46 PM EST
    It was a gift of the people of the French Republic to the people of the republic of the United States. The US government only takes care of it for us in a custodial sense.

    Rasul (none / 0) (#3)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 01:46:08 PM EST
    BTD, you know I love it when you get all lawyerly, but you are completely wrong about a couple of things here.

    First, you write:

    The DC Circuit has now perversely opined that, with regard to the Great Writ, the Congressional power extends to jurisdictions that the Constitution did not.

    This is exactly the holding of the Supreme Court in Rasul. The Court in that case writes of habeas corpus:

    As it has evolved over the past two centuries, the habeas statute clearly has expanded habeas corpus "beyond the limits that obtained during the 17th and 18th centuries."

    The Court focused on the reach of historical habeas corpus because prior caselaw has established that the constitutional right of habeas corpus extends at least to the Writ as it existed at the Founding under St. Cyr.

    From this, it is clear that the DC Circuit's ruling (and the DC District Court before it) was not "perverse" at all, but was following Rasul.

    Second, you say that the DC Circuit, "in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court holding in Rasul" finds that "detainees do not have a Constitutional habeas right because Guantanamo is outside of the control of the US government" Unfortunately, that is not the opinion in Rasul. Rasul specifically limited its reasoning to the habeas statute (which has since been modified by the MCA 2006):

    The question now before us is whether the habeas statute confers a right to judicial review of the legality of Executive detention of aliens in a territory over which the United States exercises plenary and exclusive jurisdiction, but not "ultimate sovereignty."

    (emphasis added). The ruling in Rasul is that (under the pre-MCA habeas statute) only the detainee's "next friend" or custodian need be present within the jurisdiction of the U.S. The physical location of the detainee himself was irrelevant. The Court did not rule that Guantanamo came within the jurisdiction of the federal courts. In fact, the Court explicitly disregarded the question:

    No party questions the District Court's jurisdiction over petitioners' custodians. [The habeas statute, §2241], by its terms, requires nothing more. We therefore hold that §2241 confers on the District Court jurisdiction to hear petitioners' habeas corpus challenges to the legality of their detention at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

    BTD, the Court in Rasul did not make a ruling as to whether the constitutional right would extend to Guantanamo Bay. Your reliance on Rasul to show that the constitutional reach of habeas extends to Guantanamo Bay is therefore misplaced.

    Dear Gabriel, (none / 0) (#5)
    by kindness on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 03:20:51 PM EST
    I respectfully disagree with your view on the case in question and the Court and it's statement.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#6)
    by eric on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 04:11:50 PM EST
    Regarding point number two:  You write,
    Rasul specifically limited its reasoning to the habeas statute (which has since been modified by the MCA 2006)

    You may well be  right on this point inasmuch as the Court did reference the statute and not the Constitution.  However, isn't this really form over substance?

    Habeas is a Constitutional right.  The previous statute conferred jurisdiction, so this one must as well, unless you conclude that the previous statute somehow conferred greater jurisdition than the Constitution, or as Big Tent Democrat worded it, that "Congressional power extends to jurisdictions that the Constitution did not".


    Re: I disagree (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:12:57 PM EST

    That is probably the most polite disagreement with one of my comments here at TalkLeft EVAR!


    The question over whether habeas corpus is a constitutional right is at the center of the divided court in today's ruling. Much of the debate is over how extensive that right is. The Constitution does not say that any person has a right to habeas corpus, only that Congress cannot generally suspend the writ. That's why the courts and commentators have spent so much time arguing over the historical reach of the writ. As I once wrote here at TalkLeft:

    Some people see that the Constitution doesn't answer the who or when of habeas corpus and just assume it applies to everyone and everywhen. Others looked to the common law to determine to whom it was applied and in what circumstances. And still others decided it was so important that they codified it as a statute. Two hundred years passed and now, because of the War on Terror, we're having to decide which  interpretation is the best.

    The argument now is over whether the MCA is an unconstitutional suspension of the writ. If the historical writ would have reached Guantanamo Bay then the MCA is unconstitutional unless Congress has provided an adequate substitute for habeas. This is dissenting Judge Rogers' position.

    On the other hand, if the historical writ would not have reached Guantanamo Bay, then the MCA is fine. Congress has the power to take away (with the MCA) what it granted (statutory habeas). This is the majority opinion in today's case and Judge Robertson's opinion in the latest Hamdan.

    I expect we'll see this case or one just like it in front of the Supreme Court soon. Justices Stevens and Kennedy will no doubt want to clarify the dicta from Rasul that Judge Rogers (and BTD) rely on and Justices Ginsburg and Souter are probably itching to examine the Combatant Status Review Boards.

    Finally, eric, you and BTD have adopted the reasoning that Congress by statute could not have extended habeas corpus farther than it was at the time of the Founding. This is not only incorrect, but it leads to a place I don't think you really want to go.

    First, I quoted about the Supreme Court in Rasul on the changes in habeas corpus over the years. I will do so again, just to make clear that the Court has explicitly rejected your argument.

    As it has evolved over the past two centuries, the habeas statute clearly has expanded habeas corpus "beyond the limits that obtained during the 17th and 18th centuries."

    You will note that the Court doesn't have any problem with Congress expanding habeas beyond its historic limits. It is puzzling that so many people are arguing that once Congress has expanded habeas, it cannot revoke or amend such expansion.

    Second, lets assume you (and BTD) are right and Congress could not extend the federal habeas statute farther than the constitutional right. That puts us right back where we started: just what was the constitutional right? The Supreme Court in St. Cyr wrote that the constitutional right is at least what the writ was in 1789, but never clarified how far it might extend.

    In the category "situations in which there will always be a habeas right:" when prisoners are held within the sovereign territory of the U.S. We also know that there is at least one situation in which no habeas right existed: that of the detainees in Eisentrager. BTD already listed the cumulative characteristics that placed them beyond habeas. And it is not clear that the Guantanamo Bay detainees are all that different.

    Also, important to note, the early use of federal habeas petitions did not extend to state prisoners, only federal prisoners (state prisoners could make habeas petitions only to their state courts). That changed after the Civil War, but I doubt very much that you (or BTD) would argue that federal constitutional habeas does not include state prisoners.


    False (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:57:33 PM EST
    You  wrote:

    "Finally, eric, you and BTD have adopted the reasoning that Congress by statute could not have extended habeas corpus farther than it was at the time of the Founding."

    I am speaking of the TERRITORIAL SCOPE, not the actual protections themselves.

    Inde e d, your interpretation of what I wrote would lead to nonsense. I assumed you knew me better than that. Or perhaps I thought I knew you better than that.


    Sorry BTD (none / 0) (#19)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 08:29:00 PM EST
    I'm sorry BTD, I'd seen that argument raised in Rasul, and over at Volokh.com today, so I thought that's what you were saying. My bad. I will re-read your post and keep in mind that you meant territorial scope of habeas.

    Cool (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 08:33:30 PM EST
    I was unclear, also (none / 0) (#23)
    by eric on Wed Feb 21, 2007 at 02:17:50 PM EST
    I re-read my post and realized that I didn' t make that very clear, either.  I was also talking about territorial scope.

    The ::argument :: (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:37:05 PM EST
    has never been over whether the MCA is an unconstitutional suspension of the writ.

    It has always been, for civilized people, that the MCA ia a grossly uncivilized and disgusting piece of legislation worthy only of the worst dictatorial and sadistic human rights abusing regimes in history, that was rammed through the Congress by an admininistration, and a president in name only, intent only on covering their own ass and protecting themselves from future war crimes prosecutions, and supported by sycophants intent only on grasping for the least of straws to somehow justify to themselves their backing of such twisted sickness.

    It is an act that should and does cause normal human beings to feel sickened to their core and utterly ashamed, and is one that no one but conscienceless psychopaths could support or excuse.

    The real ::argument:: is over how to rid the earth of or contain such people. Perhaps in future there may be a use for Guanatanamo Bay after all, for what should be it's true purpose: containment, not torture - a place where the abusers will have protected the rights they deny to others now.

    "This decision empowers the president to do whatever he wishes to prisoners without any legal limitation as long as he does it off shore, and encourages such notorious practices as extraordinary rendition and a contempt for international human rights law," said Shayana Kadidal, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many of the detainees.

    Everyone in the world now knows (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 08:16:03 PM EST
    that American ideals of justice have been perverted beyond recognition and that America has become an ongoing criminal enterprise spreading violence and destruction under the pretense of "installing democracy at the barrel of a gun", kidnapping and rendering people to other countries for torturing, codifying torture into American Law, a president ordering extra-judicial executions, a president who may now "disappear" anyone he so chooses with no appeal, no trial, no courts to determine guilt or innocence, and now, finally, the right of habeas corpus to compel the government to justify why a suspect is being held is almost lost forever.

    Only the Supreme Court stands between retaining American Jurisprudence as it has always been, or changing it forever.

    --The Penultimate Nail in Our Coffin

    The important point is that (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 08:30:23 PM EST
    the Constitution doesn't apply to Americans, it doesn't apply to citizens, it doesn't even apply to "people." It applies to the federal government. The body of the Constitution tells the federal government what it is allowed to do, and in some places it explains how to do it (election procedures and such). The Bill of Rights tells the federal government what it is not allowed to do...
    Where exceptions were meant to apply, they are specifically stated. And there are no exceptions stated for any type of guns, for any type of speech, for any specific crimes, or for crimes where non-citizens are involved.

    [The] overriding point [is] that, until a suspected "terrorist" gets a fair and impartial trial, you don't know whether he is a terrorist. So even if you think non-citizen terrorists have no rights, how do you even know for sure that they are terrorists - or that they are non-citizens - until every facet of due process has been applied.

    The Bush administration is trying to establish procedures whereby it can lock up a suspect for life without giving him access to an attorney, without any judicial process, without even letting him tell his family where he is.
    So go back to sleep. Your government will protect you.

    Not surprising to see Gabe (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:06:09 PM EST
    once more try unsuccessfully to smoothly insinuate that since one more court has ruled in favor of the government and the Bush mal-administration over this that it therefore deserves a shrug and an oh well, it's legal so it's ok, and should be equated with right and fair and moral.

    He has made his position on it quite clear here in the past...

    Do you believe that prisoners at Guantanamo should be observed by international human rights organizations to assure the world that we do not torture them?

    [GABE]: No. I have no problem with instituting self-administered monitoring (perhaps Congress could get off its ass and create a program), but "international human rights organizations" are not inclined to give Guantanamo objective scrutiny. I also worry that these organizations could compromise the security and safety of the facility and give aid to the prisoners.

    ...and has avoided direct questions about his views on it, as have other wingnuts here:
    The security and the safety of the prison at Guantanamo Bay is more important to you than the security and the safety and the well-being of the people tortured there.

    Why is that [,Gabe]?

    Why, indeed?


    Edger (1.00 / 2) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 07:18:42 PM EST
    If you are going to complain about things that bother you, I hope you don't mind me bringing this one out. It's about prsioners, and how they are treated, so it is very much on topic. Wouldn't want to bother Sailor you know.... of okay. That's not true. ;-)

    Ve haf vays of makink you tawk... (none / 0) (#1) by Bill Arnett on Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 12:08:54 PM EST

    ...und zen you vill be found guilty and shot! Sign ze papers!

    I believe even the Nazis accorded fairer treatment to prisoners of war than America now does. Says a lot about what we have become and why the world considers America to be the greatest threat to world peace.

    Nice job, mr boosh.

    I mean, don't you just love that one?? It is just so well, I guess "expressive" is the best word I can think to use.

    I mean it was only last week that I was stopped at the local mall and asked for my papers. And I do note that my neighbor has disappeared... Probably taken somewhere for torture becuase he voted Democratic.(He never was very smart.)

    And the Internet is crumbling.. and the papers! Good heavens! Are you aware that the WaPost actually published an article defendin Libby!

    I mean, what is this world coming to!!


    OFF TOPIC TROLL POST (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Sailor on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 08:07:54 PM EST
    and yet another personal attack.

    I never respond to the spewed garbage... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Feb 22, 2007 at 04:57:33 PM EST
    ...of trolls or trolls in training (trollettes?) anymore. Stupidity and ignorance on their part does not call for a response from me - everyone who reads such tripe will make their own decision as to whom holds the better position and/or which writer at least has a sufficiently functioning brain to NOT be just another sycophant for bush.

    I write from the heart, express what I honestly feel, and don't give a d*mn who agrees or doesn't. But I refuse to ignore evidence that is before my very eyes and dishonestly portray things as they are not.

    Currently America does not accord better treatment to alleged POWs (whom we have renamed to further reduce them on the evolutionary scale) than Nazi Germany did to their prisoners - we even have a government training ground for torturers and torturing, America now kills people extra-judicially, and they are actively seeking the ability to use evidence obtained by torture to convict so-called "terrists". And if they know that terrist is no such thing at all, the government can still "disappear" that person forever.

    That some people live in denial, arrogate themselves to the arbiter of what is right and fair, and blindly - and stupidly - ignore the actions of their own government, well...that alone speaks volumes about trolls, doesn't it? And this one in particular.


    FWIW, it's 6 PM here (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 05:14:54 PM EST
    and midnight in Germany.  Listening to their live-stream of radio (classical music, news on the hour), they've been on this story since about 1 PM our time, 7 PM theirs.  Tops the news.

    And they're not happy.

    Their radio folks are much too restrained to run around screaming with their hair on fire, but they're giving their analog in their hourly news.

    Expect big international repercussions tomorrow.

    Unalienable Rights (none / 0) (#8)
    by futhark on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 05:28:08 PM EST
    The judges in this case need to hop into a time machine and go back to the 1700s when our republic was being founded. At that time we were a weak little country on the edge of a great wilderness, but the Founders had a vision of a new kind of government, founded on respect for the liberty of humankind.  They wrote up a statement to sever themselves from the old political arrangement and at the same time lay the chief foundation stone of the new republic.  That document states clearly that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Well, here it says that "all men" have these unalienable rights, by virtue of a gift from their Creator or inborn in them by their humanity.  These rights are "unalienable", that is, one human being or group of human beings cannot ethically deny them to another.

    These rights belong to all people, not just American Citizens and not just on American soil.  When our government moves to deny any person habeas corpus rights or the right to a swift trial, it is undermining the basis of our society.  Well, to use a word that we don't hear much anymore, such action is subversive of our traditions and values and the proponents need to be labeled for what they are: totalitarian anti-Americans.

    futhark (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 06:38:12 PM EST
    Hmmm. Would you please run over to Iran and straighten those guys out?

    guantanamo (none / 0) (#22)
    by gypsyboy on Tue Feb 20, 2007 at 10:15:24 PM EST
    How much longer are we going to allow the Bush/Cheney regime to trash the Constitution?  IMPEACH!  IMPEACH!  IMPEACH! And then drag these bastards out into the street and let the people get the justice that we deserve for the last six years of atrocities and lies!