Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Padilla - A blanket denial of due process

Ask and ye shall receive. This case is horrifying in its implications and fell way under the radar, so I'm glad to see Glenn Reynolds give it a boost. He links to Tim Lynch at the National Law Journal. Excerpts:
But that is the upshot of the Padilla ruling. The federal government has been given a green light to deprive Americans of their rights to due process. No arrest warrants. No trial. No access to the civilian court system. You may not be able to see it on television, but this court decision is the equivalent of a legal hurricane-and it is no exaggeration to say that this is a level 5 storm with respect to its potential havoc for civil liberties

Bush has not made any dramatic televised address to the country to explain his administration's attempt to suspend habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights, but his lawyers have been quietly pushing a sweeping theory of executive branch power in legal briefs before our courts.

The president's lawyers stress that America is at war and that the "laws of war" are now in effect. By "laws of war," they mean that the president has assumed broad powers as commander-in-chief so that he can "protect the country." The constitutional rights of the citizenry, in this view, are no longer the law of the land. A federal appellate court has now validated this ominous paradigm of military law.
If you haven't started worrying about the police state yet, you should start now. Lynch says the black helicopters won't be coming to the suburbs for your neighbors any time soon, but I think that depends on which side of the political fence they're on. Given this administration's proclivity to prosecute dissenters, I wouldn't bet the farm that it couldn't happen in the next three years.
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Anonymous ks said...

Matthew Rothschild has a piece, "A Crony for the Court," that set off alarm bells in my head after reading your blog on Padilla. He's discussing Harriet Miers and her background, but it ties in exactly with the point you're making:

"And, like Roberts before her, she comes out of the Executive Branch, and justices with such a pedigree tend to lick the feet of the President from the bench.

That's especially disturbing right now, as Bush acts as though there is no check on his war-making powers.

As White House counsel, Miers must have had a hand in delaying the legal process the Supreme Court has ordered for Guantanamo and in continuing to insist on the legality of rounding up U.S. citizens like Jose Padilla.

I'm still on the fence about Miers, but this might help to explain why Bush chose her. She may not be the benign choice everyone is making her out to be, and that police state you mentioned just might be right around the corner.

3:04:00 PM  

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