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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Supreme Court Says Guantánamo Bay Military Commissions Are Unconstitutional; ACLU Calls Decision a Victory for the “Rule of Law”

Reposted from Stop the ACLU. This article was written by Jay at Stop the ACLU and is filed under ACLU, War On Terror, News at his website.

I (JAY) knew this wouldn’t take long! The ACLU are breaking out the champaign glasses and popping the cork! It is celebration time for the left, as Al Qaeda terrorists now have ‘protections’ via the Geneva Conventions thanks to the US Supreme Court. Andrew Sullivan thinks it is a great day too.

In a sharp rebuke to the Bush administration, the United States Supreme Court today ruled 5-3 that the military commissions system established by President Bush to try detainees at Guantánamo Bay is unfair and illegal. The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, applauded the decision.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the rule of law in the United States,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The Supreme Court has made clear that the executive branch does not have a blank check in the war on terror and may not run roughshod over the nation’s legal system. This decision moves us one step closer to stopping the abuse of power that has become the hallmark of this White House. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decision, the president should make good on his promise and close Guantánamo.”

Maybe they shouldn’t be so fast to celebrate. Not being able to detain these guys means that instead of them hiring ACLU lawyers they will probably just be killed on the battlefield.

Captain’s Quarters is on the same wavelength.
The opinion should have some interesting tap-dancing. In any case, the Supreme Court has effectively negated the ability for us to detain terrorists. Instead, we will likely see more of them die, since the notion of having the servicemen who captured these prisoners forced to appear to testify to their “arrest” is not only ridiculous but would require us to retire combat units as a whole whenever their prisoners appear for trial.

Congress needs to correct this issue immedately. The mischief that this enables will not only hamstring this war on terror, but any future war we may be forced to wage.
See my (Jay's) post below for the blogosphere’s reactions.

Hot Air has a great roundup too.Wizbang as well!

Update: Webloggin provides us with Justice Scalia’s dissent.

Moreover, the President’s determination that the present conflict dates at least to 1996 is supported by overwhelming evidence. According to the State Department, al Qaeda declared war on the United States as early as August 1996. See Dept. of State Fact Sheet: Usama bin Ladin (Aug. 21, 1998); Dept. of State Fact Sheet: The Charges against International Terrorist Usama Bin Laden (Dec. 20, 2000); cf. Prize Cases, 2 Black, at 668 (recognizing that a state of war exists even if “the declaration of it be unilateral” (emphasis in original)).

In February 1998, al Qaeda leadership issued another statement ordering the indiscriminate—and, even under the laws of war as applied to legitimate nation-states, plainly illegal—killing of American civilians and military personnel alike. See Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders: World Islamic Front statement 2 (Feb. 23, 1998), in Y. Alexander & M. Swetnam, Usama bin Laden’s al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network, App. 1B (2001) (“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it”).

This was not mere rhetoric; even before September 11, 2001, al Qaeda was involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1993, th ebombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the bombing of the U. S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the U. S. S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. See id., at 1. In response to these incidents, the United States "attack[ed] facilities belonging to Usama bin Ladin’s network” as early as 1998. Dept. of State Fact Sheet: Usama bin Ladin (Aug. 21, 1998).

Based on the foregoing, the President’s judgment—that the present conflict substantially predates the AUMF, extending at least as far back as al Qaeda’s 1996 declaration of war on our Nation, and that the theater of war extends at least as far as the localities of al Qaeda’s principal bases of operations—is beyond judicial reproach. And the plurality’s unsupportable contrary determination merely confirms that “‘the Judiciary has neither aptitude, facilities nor responsibility’” for making military or foreign affairs judgments.

I think he nailed it.

Justice Thomas was so angry about the decision that he read his dissent from the bench for the first time in fifteen years.

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Hamdan case:

“We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. However, we believe the problems cited by the Court can and should be fixed.

“It is inappropriate to try terrorists in civilian courts. It threatens our national security and places the safety of jurors in danger. For those reasons and others, we believe terrorists should be tried before military Commissions.

“In his opinion, Justice Breyer set forth the path to a solution of this problem. He wrote, ‘Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary.’

“We intend to pursue legislation in the Senate granting the Executive Branch the authority to ensure that terrorists can be tried by competent military commissions. Working together, Congress and the administration can draft a fair, suitable, and constitutionally permissible tribunal statute.”
Hot Air has a video of Bush’s initial reaction.

Also see:
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