Friday, June 30, 2006

Two Important SCOTUS Rulings...

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, et al

I hate to be a cliché righty blogger here, but yes...I think the 5-3 decision to block GITMO terrorists from being tried under military commissions grants al Qaeda protections under an AMERICAN constitution.

The case: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, et al

The dissenters: Thomas, Scalia and Alito (Roberts couldn't vote)

"..."Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary," Breyer wrote.

But Scalia wrote in his dissent that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 is specific in its language barring any domestic court from hearing Guantanamo Bay cases...." (source)

I didn't make it through all 182 pages of this case... but I am wondering if maybe this isn't the victory the left thinks and isn't the defeat the right feels. I feel this may have been a decision based purely on semantics. The accused is Salim Ahmed Hamdan (UBL's driver) and the charge was "conspiracy" --had the charge been murder I feel the outcome would have been different. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems the court had more of a problem with the weak charge than the idea of a military commission...

In the second decision SCOTUS trumped the International Court of Justice (a.k.a. The World Court) in the matter of foreigners convicted and jailed in America:

"...The court, based in The Hague, ruled that the treaty gave individuals a right to reopen their cases if they did not get the proper notification.

But the Supreme Court said Wednesday that it was not bound to follow that ruling.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. acknowledged that treaties ratified by the Senate were part of American law. Nonetheless, under the U.S. Constitution, the power to interpret the law and treaties "is vested in one Supreme Court," he said.

He might as well have added: It does not sit in The Hague..." (source)

To my layman's eyes, it seems like the decisions should have been reversed. The treaty seems pretty clear and the Geneva Convention offers no protection for lone militants that aren’t affiliated with the army of a sovereign state... But hey, I’m no lawyer so what do I know?

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