Wednesday, December 05, 2007

SCOTUS review of the Guantanemo detentions

So... the Supreme Court took up the issue of the Guantanemo detainees again. Scalia, predictably, acted as if there was some extremely strange request being made of the courts.

From this article, we get this:

"Show me one case" down through the centuries where circumstances similar to those at Guantanamo Bay entitled an alien to challenge his detention in civilian courts, said Scalia.


Okay. Show him one case where the government grabbed a person - maybe on a "battlefield", maybe hundreds of miles from it, maybe during active hostilities, maybe when the guy was just chillin' somewhere, maybe with strong supporting evidence, maybe just because someone didn't like him, and turned him in for a bounty. Show him one case in which that person had recourse to the courts.

How about every single time we've captured a criminal overseas? When we've apprehended criminals in the past, they've always had the same rights we give criminals in America, which includes the right to petition the courts, to force the government to show cause to hold them, or release them.

Despite the lies of the Bushies, these people are not all "battlefield captives", caught during active hostilities. Some of them may well be; some others might well have been identified as truly dangerous people. But many have already been found to be innocent, and released. Why, then, is it so dangerous to allow each of them to have a day in court, where the government shows why they should be held, and a judge who is not under the command of the President gets to decide if sufficient cause has been shown?

If the Supreme Court doesn't rule that the detainees have access to the courts, it will say that the government can decide, in secret, that certain people should be held, and then they will never get to have their cases reviewed, except by the very branch of government that decided to imprison them. In any rational country, this is called "kidnapping".

I can only hope the Supreme Court will decide this case rationally.

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