Thursday, January 05, 2006

Kicking the Can

In ruling, without comment, to allow the Bush crew to suddenly move so-called "dirty-bomber" Jose Padilla from military detention in South Carolina to civilian court in Miami, the Supreme Court has punted for now the issue of whether or not a president can detain American citizens indefinitely without any charges, even in "wartime."

I'm no lawyer, but it seems that the legal argument against the Bush administration's actions -- should the matter ever come before the Supreme Court -- should be based on the fact that we are not "at war" in the relevent sense of the term. Yes, the US is fighting a war in Iraq, but that has nothing to do with Padilla's detention, which predates that war. If the "War on Terror" is the war in question, well that's a war that -- like the war on drugs -- may never end. Even if it does end, it will do so without peace treaties, acts of Congress, or other identifyable signals. So is it the president's position that for the remainder of America's time as a nation on this Earth that its president will have the right to suspend the Constitution as he and only he sees fit? If so, then Bush's position is that one set of terrorist attacks four years ago requires the perhaps permanent suspension of the Fourth Amendment.

Even the troglodytes like Scalia and Thomas should be repulsed by that notion. Which is why if this ever gets to the Supreme Court, it will likely end the madness of King George. Hence the significance of the Court's decision to dodge the issue. They don't want to be in the position of raining on their beloved president's parade.

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