Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Second Anniversary

Today is cab drollery's second anniversary. My first post was a rather timid consideration of the oddity of the James Gannon-White House access. It was the biggest story in the liberal blogworld at the time, and I found myself somewhat bewildered by the whole thing. Little did I know that there would be even more bewildering and devastating news to come over the next two years.

Yesterday I posted on the consequences of the Democrats failure to filibuster the nominations of two men to the Supreme Court whose ideologies were sure to cause problems to our democracies for many years to come. The Democrats gave up without a fight.

Today a story in the NY Times details another consequence of the Democrats failure to fight hard in the last Congress.

A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a new law stripping federal judges of authority to review foreign prisoners’ challenges to their detention at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Supreme Court previously ruled twice that federal statutes empowered the courts to consider Guantánamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions challenging the grounds for their detention. In response to those rulings, Congress twice rewrote law to limit the detainees’ avenues of appeal. The most recent rewriting was at issue in Tuesday’s 2-to-1 decision.

That law, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, was signed by President Bush last October. Its enactment followed the Supreme Court’s rejection of his administration’s earlier arguments that the right of habeas corpus — the fundamental right, centuries old, to ask a judge for release from unjust imprisonment — did not apply to foreigners being held outside the United States as enemy combatants.

...Two of the three appeals court judges, citing Supreme Court and other historical precedent, held that the right of habeas corpus did not extend to foreign citizens detained outside the United States.
[Emphasis added]

The practical effect of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is that the administration is free to detain anyone not a US citizen in prisons located outside the US such as Guantanamo Bay or secret prisons in Europe and the Middle East and deprive that person of even the most basic of rights, habeas corpus. That individual can be held forever, should the US decide to do so.

The Democrats, now in the majority in Congress, have promised to undo that provision, but they are unlikely to succeed because they don't have the kind of majority which will override a sure veto. Unless and until the Democrats have that kind of majority and/or a Democratic President, those detainees will have to sit and rot in those off-shore prisons or be tried in the kangaroo processes outlined elsewhere in that abominable act.

The next two years promise to be even rockier than the last two.

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3 Comments:

Blogger chicago dyke said...

happy birthday CabD! you do such great work here, here's to many happy returns.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Eli said...

Happy blogiversary, Diane!

7:59 PM  
Blogger Nancy Willing said...

Happy Birthday Cabby bloggers!
(one of the better blogs for a thoughtful essay).
A little bit of shrilliness and a lot of dedicated hate goes a long way!

6:11 AM  

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