Friday, June 13, 2008

Hurrah! Habeas Corpus is Back!

The Supreme Court made a very welcome and long-overdue decision yesterday restoring the most fundamental legal right to all American prisoners. I have felt that the worst scandal of the lawlessness of the past few years has been the way our government has imprisoned people they don't like without charge or trial for years and years. These prisons were deliberately placed where American lawyers could not get, to prevent them from even meeting with their clients or petitioning for a charge. And U.S. citizens were tossed in along with foreigners, with no more protection than Soviet prisoners used to have.

To my mind this is a disgrace worse than our tortures, and that is saying a great deal.

A majority of the court had the legal sense and the courage to make the right call. The fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has to have courage to defend habeas corpus is a sorry commentary on how low things have sunk.

Let the healing begin.


jr said...

Our soldiers capture terrorist in battle. The supreme court gives them the rights of American citizens. Maybe we should take less prisoners.If you are centrist God help us from the far left.

Gruntled said...

Homeland Security decides jr is a terrorist and takes you to Cuba or an undisclosed locations further east. You are not allowed a lawyer to argue whether or not you are a terrorist. It does not matter to your captors that you are an American citizen. The Attorney General says whatever the state wants to do is legal.

The Court and the Constitution protect everyone.

D-rew said...

God help us from the constitution!! (You do realize that's what you said right).

Gruntled said...


D-rew said...

Marks off on my part for unclear antecedant.

jr said,

"God help us from the far left."

That was my reference.

Anonymous said...

Are you deliberately missing the point of the objections to this ruling? Of course American citizens should have this fundamental right. However, now the Supremes have extended it to enemy combatents who are not U.S. citizens. That's the problem. I notice that in your example of a person snatched off to Cuba you slip in that they are an American citizen. What if they are not? Do you still agree with the decision?

Gruntled said...

Habeas Corpus is a fundamental right in any judicial system. It is the right that makes the system judicial, in that it requires a judgment about whether the prisoner is charged with a crime and tried under any kind of due process. Habeas corpus is the difference between law and kidnapping.

I do not think that non-citizens have every constitutional right, but they must have that one or we are not a nation of laws.

Gilgaal said...

You must be very smart! You have discovered a right that no one in the history of our country has.