Judge Antonin Scalia Is A Big, Fat Jerk or: Hooray, Bush Is Thwarted Again!

Okay, this post is a bit late but yay, habeas corpus is back!  It lives!  The Military Commission’s Act can take its cold dead hands away from its throat now.

*parades, dancing in the street and the Founding Father ceasing their turning over in the grave ensues*

Boumediene v. Bush gave captives held at Guantanamo Bay the ability to question the United States government on why they are being held prisoner.  This constitutional right guaranteed by our Constitution has been denied to these prisoners for the last six years.  

And yes, there has been much debate over whether the Geneva Convention and subsequent articles give prisoners of war such liberties such as habeas corpus.  The fact that these prisoners are not Americans citizens has also been an issue.  The fact that they are being held in our country and under our laws somehow has no meaning for people nor the fact that America has enough world hatred centered upon it to microwave some popcorn.  

The scary thing about this ruling is that it only went down by a vote of 5-4.  Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion,

“Security depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus and the ability of our Armed Forces to act and to interdict. There are further considerations, however. Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers. It is from these principles that the judicial authority to consider petitions for habeas corpus relief derives….”

And who wrote the dissent to this decision?

Justice Antonin Scalia.  Who in his eighty seven page dissent did more for fear mongering, sensationalism and hate than Fox News in say, a forty eight hour period.  I can almost hear him in his high backed chair with his feet not quite touching the ground screaming, “I am the law!”  He may be a conservative given his seat by a conservative to be conservative but the fact remains that the Supreme Court is supposed to be above “politics.”

In a time where our current president has all but laid to rest the system of checks and balances, the reality of the Supreme Court coming and undoing his well done attempt to give powers to the executive branch that it’s never had before is elating. 

Last year, Dick Cheney declared the vice president’s office to not be a part of the executive branch.  He did this so his office would not have to declassify certain information.  And Cheney’s also not a part of any other branch of government.  So apparently, he floats somewhere in between branches, completely unchecked. 

Things like this should not be allowed to happen.

Things like this also make me realize how badly we need a new president, a good president who will hopefully release some of the power the President’s office has assumed over the last seven years and allow the other two branches of government to actually check his power.  

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” Justice Kennedy wrote.  Is anyone else reminded of the Evil Empire?  Is it just me?  Should Americans have to defend themselves and their liberties from their President? 

Boumediene v. Bush has made habeas corpus a constitutional right to be applied to foreign nationals even if they have been issued an “enemy combatant” designation.

So yay, the system worked, lived to fight another day and the Constitution (hell, the Magna Carta) is still your friend.


~ by atypicalsnowman on June 14, 2008.

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