Thursday, June 29, 2006

On Gitmo and Storm Drains...




This morning the news came that the Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot create tribunals to try the terrorist suspects currently being held. Instead, the Court ruled that the government must rely on a) regular courts, b) court-martials, or c) the congress to pass legislation to set up an alternative system.

Clearly, this decision was both surprising and correct. Justice Roberts removed himself from the decision due to the fact that he ruled for the government while sitting on the federal court of appeals. Justice Kennedy provided the swing vote (which was not necessary because of the Roberts removal).

Now to the storm drains portion of the story- from the article:

In his dissent, Justice Thomas cited a recent ruling in an environmental case to argue that the majority was being inconsistent in order to denigrate the president's powers.

"Those Justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief's wartime decisions, only 10 days ago deferred to the judgment of the Corps of Engineers with regard to a matter much more within the competence of lawyers, upholding that agency's wildly implausible conclusion that a storm drain is a tributary of the United States," Justice Thomas wrote. "It goes without saying that there is much more at stake here than storm drains."
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Some thoughts-

First, aside from the fact that it is unclear why President Bush/Karl Rove/Alberto thought they ever had the authority to usurp the Constitution/justice system/common law/democracy- I'm not sure that the Court has at all shut the door on this type of fake court system. It seems that all that is needed is congressional authority for the government to do it again. I don't think the Republicans will be willing to make that happen before November (despite some early rhetoric), and they may not have the numbers/stomach/idiocy to do it after the election. Here's to hoping.

Second, for some reason I had been holding out hope that Alito would be a pleasant surprise. I have lost that hope completely. Both he and Chief Justice Roberts are puppets of Bush. At least Roberts never tried to conceal it.

Finally, I was surprised (if not slightly underwhelmed) by the President's press conference this morning. His comments on this decision were brief, but respectful. And if we know anything about this administration, it's that they respect neither the Constitution nor the other branches of government. The fight goes on.

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