Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lawfare: how to lose a war through litigation, part II

In another 5-4 decision unsupported by the Constitution or reality, Justice Kennedy again ruled against the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to anticipate the ever-shifting nature of what the Supreme Court views as constitutional law. The case, brought by a lot of big firms representing Gitmo Bay prisoners pro bono publico, challenged the government's use of administrative tribunals and denial of habeas corpus rights for the prisoners.

Here's the crux of the decision:

Petitioners have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. They are not barred from seeking the writ or invoking the Suspension Clause's protections because they have been designated as enemy combatants or because of their presence at Guantanamo.

The Suspension Clause has full effect at Guantanamo. The government's argument that the Clause affords petitioners no rights because the United States does not claim sovereignty over the naval station is rejected.

This is patently ridiculous. As unlawful enemy combatants, the Gitmo detainees could have been shot dead as spies. They are not lawful combatants entitled to Geneva Convention rights, but somehow they are due every right given to an American citizen in an American court. I'm with Mark Levin on this:

It has been the objective of the left-wing bar to fight aspects of this war in our courtrooms, where it knew it would have a decent chance at victory. So complete is the Court's disregard for the Constitution and even its own precedent now that anything is possible. And what was once considered inconceivable is now compelled by the Constitution, or so five justices have ruled. I fear for my country. I really do. And AP, among others, reports this story as a defeat for "the Bush administration." Really? I see it as a defeat for the nation.

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