Reactions to Supreme Court Detainee Decision

  • TChris:
    Remember that this was a 5-4 decision, that Justice Stevens will not live forever, and that John McCain would likely nominate as his replacement someone in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, both of whom dissented from the notion that indefinite detention should be subject to judicial review. The presidential election will have enormous consequences to our nation's commitment to the rule of law and to the constitutional values of freedom and fairness that have served us so well for so long.
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    A diarist at MyDD (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by DCDemocrat on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:09:59 PM EST
    set forth the ages of the members of the Court.  It is highly probable, TChris, that over the next eight years, a president (or presidents) will have a chance to appoint six new justices.  That is a generation of influence.  The Court is well worth fighting for a Democratic president this year.

    Could be two generations (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:16:07 PM EST
    Especially if judges are appointed in their 40's. And, in addition to the Supreme Court, the entire bench of federal judges, both at the district court and circuit court levels, are nominated by the President and serve for life.

    This is about far more than Roe v. Wade. The independence of our federal judiciary and Supreme Court is far too important to the lives of our children -- and their children -- to leave in the hands of someone like John McCain.


    Pres. nominates (none / 0) (#9)
    by Andy08 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:32:21 PM EST
    Senate confirms.  Dems should have a majority in Congress this year and regardless who wins POTUS  they better start doing their jobs.

    It isn't enough (4.25 / 4) (#11)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:45:14 PM EST
    Clinton appointed good Judges in spite of the Republicans, and Bush appointed bad ones in spite of us. We need the White House.

    I'd respect the SCOTUS argument more (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by davnee on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:31:18 PM EST
    if it was deployed by the Obama camp in a way that highlighted the broad range of important issues that the composition of the Court impacts.  The need for a counterweight to the conservatives on the Court goes far, far beyond Roe, which is really one of the least of our big worries right now.

    Using Roe as a scare tactic is cheap and lazy and insulting to women who deserve the respect of better outreach for their vote than just the specter of a coat hanger.  Part of the reason why I'm skeptical, though, of Obama broadening the SCOTUS argument is that would require him to openly commit to too many liberal principles when highlighting why McCain judges would be worse than Obama judges.  Obama does not like to be pinned down on concrete principles and issues.  Policies are anathema to his politics.


    Therefore. . .vote for McCain? (1.00 / 1) (#16)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:32:40 PM EST
    The arguments you respect or don't respect are no longer relevant. Obama is the Democratic nominee, and he will be one of our two options in November.

    I think the point is (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by Nike on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:38:39 PM EST
    just because you don't vote for McCain (and I don't think you should) does not mean that you will get anything close to what you want with Obama as president. Pressure must be applied on him to do the right thing. It is not always clear what his positions are and I doubt he will want to nominate "liberal" judges. He does not like controversy so he may well choose judges the republicans praise him for. It would be post-partisan.  

    Obama's not going to appoint a Scalia. (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by davnee on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:08:31 PM EST
    I don't like or trust Obama, and even I can see that.  But it is very easy for me to envision that he will appoint moderates, even possibly slightly right-leaning moderates, just to forward the post-partisan bs.  I am extremely skeptical of Obama ever expending even a drop of his political capital on judicial appointments.  Nothing about his record or persona would suggest that.  We will likely get a bench that ventures no further rightward under Obama, but one that actually pushes back leftward?  I am skeptical of that.  And it may be enough reason to vote for him (for some) just to stop the rightward march.  But people who want a new judicial direction, rather than just a moderate stall, I think will be in for serious disappointment.

    I am quite confident (3.00 / 1) (#18)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:43:49 PM EST
    that there will be significant overlap between the judges he appoints and the judges Hillary would have appointed.

    I wish I were as confident as you are, (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by litigatormom on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:09:18 PM EST
    andgarden.  Obama hasn't said much about what kind of judges he'd appoint, and I suspect that his picks would not be as progressives as the progressives now on the Court.

    But whoever becomes president, it is critical, no, it is IMPERATIVE, that the Senate have a real working majority of Democratic progressives/liberals with a Senate Majority Leader with the backbone to reject nominees who will not read the due process clause out of the Constitution, as Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas are willing to do. (Read the dissents, they are truly frightening.)


    The Senate isn't enough (4.00 / 2) (#24)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:16:51 PM EST
    Even if we control 60 seats, McCain is going to get his appointments through without much fuss.

    I know you're unhappy about the way Obama walked away with this nomination--so am I, but I'm personally pragmatic, and I know that even if Obama is a gamble on judges (and as I've said, I think he's not), McCain is guaranteed to give us more Alitos.

    I am not prepared to gamble away the Supreme Court because our nomination process is flawed.


    Two reactions (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by davnee on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:40:30 PM EST
    1) If the Dems in their current state can't even stop a president from walking all over them when they have a filibuster proof majority, then the need to defeat Obama and purge the DNC becomes possibly more urgent than protecting the Court for a generation.  If the party is that weak and spineless then burning it down may be best.  Electing someone who bases his whole campaign on playing post-partisan kissy-face with Republicans, when we are already march to their beat is not the way to go if we actually want to ever represent progressive ideals


    2) I won't let Obama skate on SCOTUS.  If he is going to blackmail me into voting for him on that one issue (which is the only conceivable issue on which he has any leverage against me), then he is for damn sure going to work for it and offer clear assurances.  I'm not going to be easy.


    Clear assurances. (1.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Ramo on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:54:31 AM EST
    Obama has provided them:

    Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) said he was most concerned about a conservative court that tilted to the side of "the powerful against the powerless," and to corporations and the government against individuals. "What's truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves," he said in response to McCain.

    During one campaign stop, Obama spoke admiringly of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the former California governor who led the court in the 1950s and '60s, when it struck down racial segregation and championed the cause of civil rights.

    Obama has also praised current Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter. "I want people on the bench who have enough empathy, enough feeling, for what ordinary people are going through," Obama said.


    Obama isn't Blackmailing you (none / 0) (#37)
    by Y Knot on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:46:02 PM EST
    Let's get serious.

    No one here is attempting to "scare" anyone into voting for him by threatening to take away your civil liberties.  This isn't some kind of underhanded tactic the Obama camp cynically came up with in order to steal the general election.  We're very close to seeing a right-wing majority on the court that could overturn decades of protections that people fought hard to win.   It's a legitimate election concern, and people who bring it up are not engaging in scare tactics.


    Yes but I am not as confident (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:31:13 PM EST
    as you that Obama would choose the right kind of judges.  Sorry but prior statements by him make me doubt on his judgement on this kind of selection.  See BTD's latest post on the subject.

    Andgarden, it goes way beyond (none / 0) (#35)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:37:38 PM EST
    the question of how flawed the nomination process is or isn't, and you know that.  It's a matter of deep distrust of a candidate who won't commit to anything, spends far too much time courting the right wing and increasingly appears to have a streak of considerable authoritarianism in him.

    Did you see he's moved the DNC to Chicago and absorbed it lock, stock and barrel into his campaign organization?

    I agree with you that the odds are slightly better that he would appoint better judges than McCain, but it's not much higher than that, IMO.  As Bill said, it's a roll of the dice.


    we disagree on how much (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 07:05:02 PM EST
    but my personal opinion is that it's much less of a risk than McCain.

    Everything you just wrote ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:39:18 PM EST
    ... applies to any politician.  They're not avatars of purity, they're civil servants to work for us.  They all need to be told what to do by voters, that's why we have elections.  If you don't like Obama because of specific positions, or think his position on something specific isn't clear, then name it.

    But basing your opposition on his ambiguity, and then using vague, unspecific arguments to justify it, it not very convincing to me.

    At the very least, the supreme court justice issue is a very specific one: McCain and Obama both have voting records and public statements available from multiple supreme court vacancies.  I know whose position I prefer.


    Funny you say ambiguity (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by davnee on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:59:26 PM EST
    Because that is one of my biggest problems with Obama.  He doesn't stand for anything concrete.  His campaign is empty and his record is incomplete.  He is deliberately non-specific so that his surrogates can run around and pretend that he is a man for all seasons.  He's a pig-in-a-poke.  You don't quite know what you'll get.  I'm confident I'll get something closer to my view on SCOTUS with him than McCain.  True.  But I'm equally confident it will still be far afield from what I'd want or would expect from a progressive Democrat.  And for a Democrat to run in a Democrat cycle and not run as a progressive is shameful.

    Is there a position you want him to take? (none / 0) (#36)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:44:44 PM EST
    Again: you need to be specific yourself if you're going to attack someone for vagueness.  What do you want him to say?  Or not say?  I mean, there's a mountain of position papers and the like on the campaign website, and his stump speeches certainly have plenty of detail.  If he's not speaking to you well enough, what do you want to hear?

    Where did I say vote for McCain? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by davnee on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:53:37 PM EST
    For that matter, where did I even make a comparison to Clinton?  I said I thought Obama's SCOTUS outreach stinks, and I don't expect it to improve.  I made no recommendations about what to do about it.

    But now that you bring it up, I will tell you what I plan to do about it, which is not to vote for the top slot at all (or possibly go write-in or third party).  I plan to vote for down-ticket candidates that best represent my interests and aspirations for America, as well as who meet my minimum requirements of political competency and ethics.  That's how I honor the arguments that I respect.  And what I do and do not respect is for damn sure relevant to my vote which belongs to me.  

    You clearly just want good little Dem automatons to mindlessly punch ballots.  You obviously have already decided to hand Obama the keys to the kingdom no questions asked, no demands made, and no criticism welcome.  The D by his name is clearly good enough for you.  It's your vote, though, so godspeed.


    Obama has said... (1.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Ramo on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:48:35 PM EST
    ... that he'd appoint justices like Ginsburg, Breyer, or Souter.  McCain has said that he'd appoint justices like Alito or Scalia.

    Who do you want Stevens replaced with?  Another Ginsburg or another Scalia?


    Bush I (2.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Andy08 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:31:44 PM EST
    appointed Souter.

    Obama loved John Roberts and was ready to vote for him.
    Pete Rouse discouraged him b/c he needed the left in the primary.


    Ford appointed Stevens. (1.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Ramo on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:47:56 AM EST
    Eisenhower appointed Warren and Brennan.  What's your point?

    The fact is that Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens all have similar ideologies, regardless of the party of the President appointing them.

    The Clinton appointees were centrists, and Obama is saying that he wants to appoint similar folks.  I'd prefer to see someone further to the left (i.e. Marshall or Brennan), but centrists are a damn sight better than the right wing thugs that McCain would appoint.  And if you really believe that the Senate would do anything about amiable right wingers that McCain puts up, you're deluding yourself.

    And the idea that "Obama loved Roberts" is totally without basis.  He voted against Roberts.  He was simply defending guys like Feingold who voted for Roberts out the principle that the Senate should confirm a President's nominee absent evidence of gross malfeasance.

    But if you genuinely don't care for bedrocks of civil society like habeas corpus, vote McCain.  I personally feel pretty strongly about it....


    Maybe (1.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Andy08 on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 05:00:34 AM EST
    you should read the following article from The WashingtonPost.

    No "Obama loved Roberts" in article. (1.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Ramo on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 05:28:53 AM EST
    It says that Obama thought that Roberts is smart.  And he probably is.  As I said, Obama has some sympathy with the opinion of strong progressives like Feingold that Presidential appointees shouldn't be rejected due to purely ideological reasons, but ultimately decided that SCOTUS was too important.  And therefore voted against him.  Stop spreading false propaganda.

    What part of (1.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Andy08 on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 04:54:43 PM EST
    wanting to vote for Roberts don't you understand in here?

    It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator -- still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office -- was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.

    This is hardly reassuring to me about BO's choices for SCOTUS and  his pledge for bipartisanship.


    Logical fallacy. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ramo on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:41:22 PM EST
    1.  None of that indicates that Obama "wanted" to vote for Roberts.  It says he was considering a vote for him.  Two very different things.

    2.  He was not considering a vote for him out of ideological solidarity, but due to the principle that the Senate should defer to the President on appointments, absent gross misconduct.  The quote, in fact, implies that Obama was ideologically opposed to him.

    3.  Once again, Obama spelled out his preferences for the Court.  He specifically expressed the desire to wrest the court from the right, particularly the economic right.  He has said that he'd like to appoint someone like Ginsburg, Breyer, or Souter.  This is crystal clear.

    Your opinion (none / 0) (#49)
    by Andy08 on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 05:20:43 PM EST
    and nothing more.

    Depends (1.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Andy08 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:32:29 PM EST
    who will the Senate confirm or reject. They have the power.

    Remember Robert Bork.


    The GOP learned... (1.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Ramo on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:50:10 AM EST
    ... get an amiable right wing thug, and he sails through confirmation.  That's what would happen next time.

    Hardly a convincing argument. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Andy08 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:30:14 PM EST
    Unfortunately... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:27:35 PM EST
    a Democratic admin. is no lock for liberty-loving justices...the Kelo case comes to mind.

    The safest bet for liberty's sake would be to elect a Libertarian to appoint SC justices.


    I would like to take your bet (none / 0) (#14)
    by DCDemocrat on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:21:48 PM EST
    about the electability of a Libertarian.  How much can you afford?  I'll wager my house.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:21:27 PM EST
    To everyone at CCR who did the work, the litigators who had security clearances and had to work under impossible conditions, and to Michael Ratner, my heartfelt congratulations and thanks.

    You guys rock!!!!!!!!

    Not just the President, though (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Mike H on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:31:00 PM EST
    People, don't forget that CONGRESS had the opportunity to prevent Roberts and Alito, and failed to do so.

    Regardless of which party wins the presidency in November, it's up to the (almost certainly to be) Democratically-controlled Congress to actually show some backbone and prevent extremist appointments.

    Frankly, the whole "McCain is the Supreme Court bogeyman" is a meme that lets the Democratic Congressfolk off the hook much too easily.  They should have done a better job of oversight, period.

    If you are really worried about the next Supreme Court appointees, let your congressional representatives hear from you!

    The Senate, not the Congress.. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by FlaDemFem on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:36:29 PM EST
    The Senate has the right and duty of confirming or denying nominees to the Supreme Court. Not the House, just the Senate. And Obama had to be dissuaded from voting for Roberts. Only his aides pointing out that it could be held against him politically later put him on the No side. So don't count on the Senate, it may be full of Republicans by the time he gets to nominate a justice.

    You cannot rely ont he Senate... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jammer on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:58:29 PM EST
    because it is traditional to allow the chief executive wide choice for justices.  We need someone who wont nominate another Alito in the first place.

    Flying my Flag (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by mattt on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:51:00 PM EST
    I'd flown the stars and stripes semi-regularly since I first became a homeowner back in 1998.  But at sopme point in Bushco's infrigements upon our Constitution a couple of years ago (I forget exactly when) I'd put my flag away.  For the past few years it's flown only on Veteran's and Memorial Days.

    Today, the flag is up again, and it's a beautiful, sunny breezy day.  Maybe with the hindsight of a few years, or decades, June 12 will become known as Constitution Day.

    The ACLU (none / 0) (#2)
    by DCDemocrat on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:05:28 PM EST
    called Bush's Gitmo policy, "failed."  I personally think they were generous in the description.

    For One of the First Times in My Adult Life (none / 0) (#4)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:12:57 PM EST
    I'm (somewhat) proud of my country.

    thanks (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by dws3665 on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:56:19 PM EST
    now my nose hurts from the Diet Coke that splurted out after reading your snark.

    Why not increase the number of justices? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Saul on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 01:53:10 PM EST
    Congress has the power to do this.  FDR at one time wanted 15 justices but was to arrogant to ask congress about this just sort of dictated this to them  and this  made congress angry and they denied him.

    So What Next? (none / 0) (#20)
    by john horse on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 02:54:05 PM EST
    So what is to become of the detainees at Guantanamo?  

    I can't express how angry I am at the Bush administration.  They could have played by the rules.  They could have built legal cases against these detainees while respecting their right to habeas and without the use of torture.  

    Instead they had to bend and break the rules.  By doing so they have probably blown the cases against these detainees and that is a shame because while I believe that some of these detainees are innocent, some of them should have been prosecuted.

    But why should we expect the Bush administration to apply the rule of law to others when they feel that it doesn't apply to themselves?  

    And instead of playing by the rules (none / 0) (#25)
    by litigatormom on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 03:38:54 PM EST
    they've allowed more than five years to go by without a single conviction of any of the real terrorists they may have in custody.

    Instead of using the system, they've been years and millions of dollars trying to game the system.

    The immorality of this administration is boundless.


    Good Point (none / 0) (#38)
    by john horse on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 06:19:08 PM EST
    re: they've allowed more than five years to go by without a single conviction of any of the real terrorists they may have in custody.

    As slow as those on the right say our justice system is, it is nothing compared to what Bush has created in Guantanamo.    

    There is "prosecutorial misconduct".  What Bush did in Guantanamo was administrative misconduct.


    "I Shall Be Released" (none / 0) (#40)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 09:29:41 PM EST
    Thanks for posting that wonderful video of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," TL.  I see Joni Mitchell and Dr. John, among others, singing along.  (And Ringo on drums, of course.) Where was it recorded and when?  Who else can you identify in the chorus?

    It's from (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 09:50:00 PM EST
    The Last Waltz dvd...documentary by Martin Scorcese of The Band.

    Twenty-five years ago on Thanksgiving Day 1976 five thousand cheering fans gathered for the historic farewell concert of "The Band". In Martin Scorsese's "brilliant" (Newsweek) film superstars Eric Clapton Joni Mitchell Neil Young and Van Morrison join the musicians on-stage along with one-time collaborator Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr in an unforgettable finale

    Also...Paul Butterfield and of course Robbie Robertson.