No state power is more fearsome than the power to imprison. Hence the habeas right has been at the heart of the centuries-long struggle to constrain governments, a struggle in which the greatest event was the writing of America's Constitution...
column of June 18, 2008
One of the few Conservative pundits with whom I frequently find myself in agreement has again laid reality out on the page. Sociologically and politically, George Will may not share my belief in the necessity of the State taking responsibility for those of its citizens who can't quite seem to make it in society, but, unlike certain Presidents and their political dopplegangers, he sure as Death and Taxes doesn't believe the government has some Top Secret right to ignore its own raison d'etre.
WASHINGTON -- The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Well.
Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect?
With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?
Did McCain's extravagant condemnation of the court's habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court -- meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees -- a campaign issue.
[Wouldn't you like to be a prisoner too? For your Country, but of course!]
As an appropriate follow-up, Happy 60th Anniversary of the signing of the UN's International Declaration of Human Rights!
A wee li'l relevant addendum.