Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Angst: SCOTUS edition

I've got another little rant about how fucked up parts of this country are, and the media's culpability in it all. I'd like to start by saying that Stephen Colbert pretty much summed up this whole situation in one line, (roughly) "Where does the Constitution get off thinking it can tell the government what it can do?" Amazing, but I'll be a little more longwinded than that.

Ok so in spite of all that Bush has done to load the court with ideologues, and the fact that the supreme court usually rules with the administration during times of war the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution isn't to be used as a coaster. Habeas Corpus is not some crazy rule invented by leftist commies to help spring terrorists from jail as some asshats would like you to think. So first a quick bit of history on what we're talking about here. It was first used in 1305 but was part of the Magna Carta of 1215 and was common law even before that. Here's what the Magna Carta says about it.

Article 39: "No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him except upon the lawful judgement of his peers or the law of the land."

I can see why people would be scared to have a law like that around. Who would want a law that stops people from being detained without cause?

I also find it interesting that when the UK suspended Habeas Corpus so they could go after the IRA they latter realized that it actually increased the strength of the IRA, but I'm sure that's not the case when the US does it...

Essentially the Supreme Court has said that you cannot simply create a loophole where a person has no standing in any court of law. Conservatives will press that this decision will mean that terrorists will now be tried in civilian court instead of military court where the belong, this is true, what they fail to mention time and time again is that if the administration had allowed these people to be tried by military courts years ago then we wouldn't be in this situation. The Administration said these people can't be tried as enemy soldiers not the court, the court simply said they have the right to a trial and to know what they have been accused of. The most basic of right a prisoner can hope for. There are times when Habeas Corpus can be lifted and those times are outlined in the Constitution.

What concerns me isn't that the administration has held people without trial or even being accused of a crime for 7 years, ok that does concern me but sadly I've essential come to accept that the country I live in is not the country that I was taught about as a child. Our fantastic ideals about how bad countries would torture people and put up walls around their countries while ours was a nation devoted to peace and would never do such things. Those delusions are a part of my history as well as our nations.

No my real concern is that there are people in this country who think this ruling was wrong. The ignorant masses who watch Bill O'Reilly would annoy me but there are some serious players in the US who think this ruling was wrong including 4 supreme court judges, a presidential candidate (guess which) along with a whole shit load of talking heads that think their opinions matter (and sadly they do). I really wanted to get into how fucked up the four supreme court judges are but it's suddenly occured to me the horrible irony of McCain thinking this ruling was wrong. Here we have a man who was once a POW, who now thinks that its ok to capture people and hold them indefinitely without trial. I wonder what 1972 McCain would think of this? 2008 McCain is essentially saying that his captors had the right to hold him for five and a half years, because how can you say its wrong of them if its acceptable for us? But really its worse than that. See McCain was a POW, meaning wither or not the Viet-Cong acknowledged his rights he did have legal rights in the eyes of the world. What this administration has tried to do, and McCain plans to continue, is that somehow the fighters in this war are different and should have no human rights at all. I'm not even going to get into the fact that many of these people were not soldiers and how the vast majority were not fighters, although I wouldn't blame them if they were feeling a little Jihadish these days. I'm very concerned about the morals of this country, there are the "values voters" which is such a stupid term, who votes based on anything but their values? But the ones labels values voters because they think that banning abortion, keeping they guns, and hatin some queers are the only morals a country needs, oh and ya gots ta love some baby jesus too, can't leave that out. What about my morals? Treat people with respect, violence is wrong (exceptions granted on a case by case basis), equality, protecting the innocent, protecting the environment, and generally protecting those who can't defend themselves, avoiding tyranny. Obviously I have no sense of right and wrong. How can indefinite detention of people without a day in court not be considered a moral issue?

Anyway I gotta run, I hope this is ranttastic enough.

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