Even though I am not a lawyer and I frequently screw up interpretations of rulings, this comes as no surprise:
– Guantanamo Bay detainees may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling upholding a key provision of a law at the center of President Bush’s anti-terrorism plan.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that civilian courts no longer have the authority to consider whether the military is illegally holding foreigners.
Barring prisoners from the U.S. court system was a key provision in the Military Commissions Act, which Bush pushed through Congress last year to set up a system to prosecute terrorism suspects.***
A spokesman for the Justice Department, which was expected to seek dismissal of hundreds of prisoner cases pending in federal court, praised the decision.
“The decision reaffirms the validity of the framework that Congress established in the MCA permitting Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detention” through military hearings coordinated by the Defense Department,” said spokesman Erik Ablin.
Under the commissions act, the government may indefinitely detain foreigners who have been designed as “enemy combatants” and authorizes the CIA to use aggressive but undefined interrogation tactics.
There is really no point joining in on any collective freakout over this, as the time for freaking out has long since passed. The time for that was when they passed this hideous piece of crap. Now, I am afraid, it is merely working as designed.
And that is an important point. This disgusting piece of un-American legislation is no accident- it was plotted and planned, step by step, by a bunch of simpering fools who think nothing of throwing aside what makes this country great in the pursuit of some abstract notion of ‘security.’ Any attempts to stop the legislation were met with accusations that ranged from hating America to outright treason. And again, this outcome was the plan from the beginning, as Marty Lederman notes:
Indeed, according to John Yoo’s new book (and other sources), they were taken to GTMO precisely for the purpose of keeping them out of the reach of U.S. courts. Whatever the constitutional rule ought to be for aliens detained near a battlefield half a world away, it seems perverse, to say the least, that so many important constitutional protections should turn on which direction we choose to direct our ships (or planes) carrying detainees a few miles off the Florida coast.
While we can hope the Supreme Court overturns this nonsense, our best bet is to use the mechanism that created this mess- Congress and the President. Support legislation to reign in this authority, and refuse to vote for any candidate who will not work to overturn this garbage. To do anything else is to shirk your real duty as a patriot and a citizen, despite what the know-nothing scaremongers yell otherwise.