Thursday, September 28, 2006

With Liberty and Justice for All*

*Not valid when the President says so.

So, it's over. The detainee bill passed the Senate today. Here is the roll count on the vote. I'm happy to see that both my Senators (Cantwell and Murray) voted against the bill. (I called Maria Cantwell's office this morning and told her that if she didn't vote against this bill, she could forget about getting my vote in November.) But, I am horribly disappointed in the Democrats for not even attempting a fillibuster. I don't care that they say they had counted the votes and there weren't enough to stop it. Put it to a vote, and get people on the record, standing up for what they believe in, goddammit! And what happened to the supposedly principled John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham? They completely caved in to all the President's demands. They are pretending like they forged some sort of compromise, but that's a crock of you know what. They got nothing. The president is free to secretly arrest, torture, and detain without charges anyone he wants to--indefinitely. And anyone so arrested, tortured, or detained has no access to the courts to challenge anything that is happening to him. I don't know how anyone who voted for this bill can even look at themselves in the mirror. They make me sick. Every last one of them.

I have never personally been so disappointed in my country. When I was in law school, I remember reading the Korematsu case wherein the Supreme Court rubber-stamped the authority of the feds to send all Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II. We all talked about how wrong-headed the decision was, and how we have since learned from the travesty of that decision, and that something like that could never happen again. I remember wondering to myself what I would have thought about the decision at the time. We were at war, after all. We had been viciously attacked by the Japanese. There were believed to be Japanese supporters among us, working within our own borders. We needed to trust and support the President during wartime. Any of that sound familiar? The United States Congress has now basically given the President the authority to do essentially the same thing. And a huge majority of this country just sat around and didn't give a damn. I can only hope that some day, many years from now, when students study this period in our history, they rightfully talk about how shameful it was that so many U.S. citizens actively supported this travesty of justice, and that many more just sat around and did nothing as it happened.

I cannot adequately express in words my profound sadness, outrage, disgust, despair, and shame at what my country is doing. I hope that George W. Bush is right--that the terrorists hate us for our freedom. Because if they're watching this unfold, maybe they'll realize our freedom is meaningless, and they'll finally stop hating us. I"m not holding my breath.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side. We get to see what CONSTITUTIONAL habeas looks like.

9/28/2006 7:08 PM  
Anonymous NLG Chicago legal worker said...

...as long as anonymous set the tone (droll, i guess), here's another bright side. We get to see the Roberts court surprise everybody & strike the law down.

9/28/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

I wrote both my senators (Durbin and Obama) and asked them to filibuster. Didn't happen, but at least they voted against it.

If the terrorists do hate us for our freedom, then I guess the Bush plan is to appease them...

9/28/2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger Poverty Lawyer 1 said...

Well, now I guess we'll see a challenge to the bill pronto. I know the ACLU's going to be working on it. I think it'll get overturned, but then again, I'm a bright-eyed idealist and an unabashed optimist!

9/29/2006 7:31 AM  
Blogger dtarrell said...

I think criminal defense lawyers' perspective lets us know how truly dangerous this bill is and how "law enforcement" will run with any power they're given, only stopping when they have to.

This is an almost unfathomly dangerous bill and a quantum leap down the road to the f word, but I truly think that if people understood the rights this Congress is asking them to give up in the name of the GWOT, they would be shocked.

Here's a link to my views on it (with links to Molly Ivins insightful summary as well)

http://tlcwarrior.blogspot.com/

dave

9/29/2006 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, having worked this issue for some weeks now, more than a few Congressmen are convinced that this bill actually is a case of “doing too much.” Should the executive decide NOT to put someone on trial, the prohibition against habeas relief may vanish, as habeas as not suspended. Granted, this is a risky strategy, but it might have the strange effect of eviscerating part of AEDPA as well.

9/29/2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Why, oh why, oh WHY must our government repeatedly chip away (or in this case, grind up with a chipper-shredder) they very thing they claim to protect?! Do they not realize that if we don't protect the freedoms and rights of those we are afraid of, there will be no freedoms and rights left in this country for anyone?

9/29/2006 7:08 PM  
Anonymous anon said...

"At least we get to see what constitutional habeas looks like."

Answer: not much, at least if you don't already live in the States. This ruling flies in the face of Rasul and begs to be reversed.

12/13/2006 3:48 PM  

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