Every member of Congress who voted for the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act, which were reversed today by a landmark ruling of the Supreme Court, will carry the dishonor and blame for their votes against the very Constitution they took an oath of office to uphold with them till their dying day. They betrayed the American people when they cast those votes. They repudiated everything America stood for. They helped take this nation step after step closer to a secret police state under the Bush and Cheney administration, where laws, torture, rendition, all are acceptable exercises to those in power. This administration has committed acts for which we, the United States, after World War II, imprisoned, tried, and executed Japanese and German military and civilian leaders.
Every member of Congress who has repeatedly voted to uphold the patently unconstitutional laws introduced by the Bush and Cheney administration, starting with the laughably named ‘Patriot Act’ (q.v. Alien and Sedition Acts), is a disgrace to the American people and our history.
I see Sen. Graham today came up with the solution. Basically his idea is, to Hell with the Constitution, he wants to amend it and just strip it completely of civil rights protections that have existed since the Magna Carta, which embedded the idea of habeas corpus and due process in English common law, which then carried over to our Constitutional system. I am certain if he had been around a couple hundred years ago he would have been one of those who opposed even adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
Any member of Congress who supports positions such as Graham has now espoused should resign immediately, for they are no longer worthy of continuing in office, for they will have violated their oaths of office, and betrayed the American people.
At least Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has taken the position a true patriot and believer in the law should take:
There is nothing more fundamental than the right of habeas corpus. In three separate decisions, the Supreme Court in recent years has rejected this administration’s erosion of fundamental rights. These protections set the United States apart from those who wish to harm us. This decision echoes earlier court opinions that have solidified our constitutional system of checks and balances. The administration has rolled back essential rights that have long guided our nation’s conscience.
Today’s Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush is a stinging rebuke of the Bush administration’s flawed detention policies, and a vindication for those who have also argued from the beginning that it was unwise as well as unconstitutional.
A majority of the Court has ruled that provisions in the 2006 Military Commissions Act designed to strip away all habeas rights for detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center are unconstitutional. The Court has ruled that the Constitutional right to habeas corpus extends to territories, including Guantanamo Bay, where the United States exercises de facto control. The Court further held that the administration’s detention procedures were constitutionally inadequate, and that those detainees who have been determined to be “unlawful enemy combatants” are entitled to seek habeas relief in Federal court.
The Court’s 5-4 decision sustains the long-held and bipartisan beliefs that I and others have always maintained: Congress made a grave error when, for the first time in its history, it voted to strip habeas corpus rights, instead leaving in place hopelessly flawed procedures to determine whether detainees can be held indefinitely with no meaningful court review merely by the Executive’s decree.
Of course, some of us who understood this told the Senate it should never have confirmed John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Frankly, after their votes today, along with Thomas and Scalia, it is clear all four Justices have no respect whatsoever for the very Constitution they swore an oath to uphold when they took their seats on the court. Their repudiation of habeas corpus, the very cornerstone of our system of legal protections for citizens, should disqualify them from continuing on the court. Congress should remove them.
This post has been faxed to Senator Richard Lugar, Senator Evan Bayh, and Representative Baron Hill (IN-09).