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June 28, 2004

Justice?

I'm starting to think that we need a category of "politics (yippee!)" as things have gone so well for us lefties lately.

Anyone else think it isn't coincidence that the Iraqi transfer (read "huge news story") happened on the same day that the Supreme Court issued rulings going in large part against the Bush administration? Seems like the slap-down is playing sloppy seconds to the Iraq news.

As for the rulings-- the Court did slap down Bush, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. It is unclear what the practical effect will be. We will have to wait and see how the government acts-- they might choose the obstinent route and "interpret" the opinions very narrowly, which would just delay things while more lawsuits play themselves out.

On the Hamdi case it seems there is some room for interpretation on the issue of if the hearing have to be in US courts or if military tribunals will be sufficient-- the actual language is "a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker"-- that doesn't scream "US FEDERAL COURT" to me. Pretty scary considering that he is a US citizen. I think it is very unclear how fair a military tribunal would be. We don't really know as they are fairly shrouded in secrecy.

On the Guantanamo detainees' case the Court did hold that US courts have jurisdiction, which is fabulous. Frankly I thought that Hamdi was more of a sure thing than this case, but it turns out to be reversed.

And on Padilla...the dissent is awesome. It chronicles the timeline on Padilla's detention and shows how the after his attorney began representing him, the President issued a command to Rumsfeld on a Sunday to take control of him. The District Court held a hearing on Sunday without Padilla's attorney present, where he was given over to the Department of Defense. The next day Ashcroft told the world about Padilla and the next day Padilla's attorney filed the writ. Not knowing where her client was, she filed it in New York-- the last place she had seen him (and where she was appointed counsel). The majority opinion said that since he was in South Carolina by then, the wrong court had the case and refused to rule on it. The dissent points out what complete bullshit this is-- and how it rewards the bullshit action by the government-- and how this type of law is full of holes and exceptions, so why not grant one to Padilla? Stevens calls a spade a spade and says that we all know what is going on here, so just get to it and decide the case on its merits. Of course that is not what happened...

These are huge cases, but there other cases that were decided this week that have major ramifications as well.

Posted by marti at June 28, 2004 10:47 AM | TrackBack
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