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Due Process Finds Lack of Due Process

By Brian | June 29, 2006 | Share on Facebook

In a “sharp rebuke of President George W. Bush’s tactics in the war on terrorism,” the U.S. Supreme Court declared the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay unlawful.

“We conclude that the military commission convened to try (Salim Ahmed) Hamdan lacks power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate” the international agreement that covers treatment of prisoners of war, as well as the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the court majority.

The President, who considers himself all powerful and above the law, said, “Screw You – we’re doing it anyway” and ordered the execution of all five justices who voted against him. Oh, no wait – that’s not right:

At the White House, Bush said he had not fully reviewed the ruling and would consult with the U.S. Congress to attain appropriate authority for military tribunals. “We take the findings seriously,” he said.

So am I the only one who sees the irony here? We are such lawless bastards that we threw these guys in jail with no trial, but then the judicial process back home got them in front of the SCOTUS twice – once to win their right to sue the government, and then again to have their trials declared illegal. Name me another country that policies itself so dilligently.

NOTE: Please spare me the standard Bush bashing on this. I’m talking about how our country responded, not the administration. I realize that this isn’t ideal – the prisoners’ victories are largely Phyrric, in that they sat in jail for two years while we worked all this out. I also realize that Bush’s comment above could be nothing more than words, and “consult with Congress” could be code for “put this in a drawer and never think about it again.” Also it’s very easy to say you’ll consult with Congress when your party controls both houses of Congress, and will likely pass a law saying, “the President can do anything the Supreme Court says he can’t do.”

BUT: It would be very, very difficult for us to continue holding the trials in Guantanamo, given this SCOTUS ruling. If we tried, the media (and a great many of our politicians) would be all over it and the administration would have yet another meal of “Egg a la face.” Also, if Congress passes a law on this, they’ve got to face their constituents in an election year, so whichever way that goes, there’s a better than average chance that the people will get their way. Also, this kind of thing puts us in serious danger of ignoring important congressional discussion topics like preventing flag burning, outlawing gay marriage, and evicting illegal aliens.
So there are plenty of upsides…

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