Saturday, June 14, 2008

Supreme Court restores habeas corpus . . .

"The Court's ruling was grounded in its recognition that the guarantee of habeas corpus was so central to the Founding that it was one of the few individual rights included in the Constitution even before the Bill of Rights was enacted. As the Court put it: "the Framers viewed freedom from unlawful restraint as a fundamental precept of liberty, and they understood the writ of habeas corpus as a vital instrument to secure that freedom." The Court noted that freedom from arbitrary or baseless imprisonment was one of the core rights established by the 13th Century Magna Carta, and it is the writ of habeas corpus which is the means for enforcing that right. Once habeas corpus is abolished -- as the Military Commissions Act sought to do -- then we return to the pre-Magna Carta days where the Government is free to imprison people with no recourse."

Could this possibly be the most important court ruling of our generation?
Discuss . . .


Pete said...

Yes. This is an immensely important development. While it is not completely after-the-fact, it does have a "now you tell us" timing to it. While it could never match the cowardice and complicity our Legislative branch has exhibited in the face of this attack on civil liberties. It does seem to me that this ruling almost too conveniently follows a change in the political climate.

There's a reason why George Grosz and Otto Dix paintings remind us of America today. See "Fit for Active Service".

Mr. Alex said...

The real revelation here is that the four Justices who dissented from this ruling, who basically said that We The People must give up fundamental rights enshrined in common law for 700 years or else "the terrorist might win", *really are* a collection of intellectually bankrupt authoritarian hacks who should have no say in the affairs of our Nation.

Disagreement about various interpretations of the 14th amendment and how it has or has not been applied? Sounds reasonable.

Disagreement about rights outlined in the Magna Carta, rights so fundamental that the Founders didn't even think they needed to enumerate them in the Constitution? Are you fucking kidding me?

And this from people who claim their mantel of respect based on the notion that they are life long jurists and Constitutional experts? That, my friends, is creationist level mickey-mouse bullshit.

Don Jason said...

- The Magna Carta, infuriating conservatives since 1215.

I found something to that effect in the comment section of Atrios. Which I think sums up neatly what Alex is is writing about.

Pete also points to the cowardice of the Legislative in the last eight years. What I really find frustrating is how the Democrats have controlled both houses since 2006, but still capitulate to every demand made by the Cheney White House. They are currently getting ready for a big fold to give amnesty on the FISA bill, which brings up the very poignant question of how this Congress has operated any differently than the previous one that was strongly controlled by Trent Lott and the rest of the hardcore conservative movement.

Before, the Congressional Democrats were the opposition party that opposed nothing. Now they are winning and electoral trends are clearly shifting in their favor, but they still cannot seem to make a stand on ANYTHING.

I have a tendency to want to hold my breath and hope that the damage done the constitutional project called the United States is going to somehow correct itself as politics shifts away from the crazed conservative ascendancy that is all I have ever known in American politics, but this kind of weak compliance every step of the way dashes that rather harshly.

According to my reading of contemporary political history, we did this Executive privilege garbage already with Nixon and the same Neo-Cons backing him, but no one in Washington DC seemed to learn anything from that.

Time will tell.

Pete said...

On Harry Shearer's radio show, yesterday, he drew attention to how the media has used the phrase "granted habeas corpus rights" rather than "upheld or defended habeas corpus rights".

Between those two phrasings lies the
acceptance or rejection of Enlightenment ideals.