According to Scalia, People Only Get Rights When There's Nothing At Stake

Illustration for article titled According to Scalia, People Only Get Rights When Theres Nothing At Stake
  • In a 5-4 ruling today, the Supreme Court has (again) decided that the prisoners at Gitmo deserve some semblance of the rights afforded everyone else imprisoned in this country, like the right to protest to a judge the fact that they've been held for 6 years without charges. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia defended the right to not afford the detainees any rights because "America is at war with radical Islamists," but I'm sure he came up with some bullshit legal reasoning to discard the Constitution like he always does. Strict constructionalist my ass. [Washington Post]
  • In other legal news, the jury is now considering its verdict in the R. Kelly case. [AP]
  • In yet further legal news, Tony Rezko claims that federal prosecutors cajoled him to make up allegations against Barack Obama. He says, "I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take what comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people." Except, you know, when he bribes officials and commits frauds. [Politico]
  • Oh, look, the first food named after Eliot Spitzer: "a gargantuan patty wrapped around braised shortribs (no foie gras, here) and slathered with barbecue sauce". Now if only the Mayflower could, um, swallow their pride and name a drink after him, my life would be complete. [OuttaMindOuttaSite]
  • Speaking of assholes, Lou Dobbs may run for governor of New Jersey. I guess his neon coloring would fit in well in Trenton. [Politico]
  • Oh, whatever, I'll keep up the asshole theme. Ron Paul's going to officially end his Presidential bid, but won't endorse John McCain and he's going to use his people's money to support other crazy Libertarian candidates. There are so many Republican Naders this year, it warms my bitter little heart. [NY Times]
  • Oh, and Nicky Sarkozy's getting a brand new old plane to join the Mile High Club in. [Jaunted]
  • Fine, I'll give you some good news. EMILY's List Ellen Malcolm and Madeline Albright gave speeches today at EMILY's annual luncheon and urged people to suck it up and vote Barack. Most people seemingly listened. [HuffPo]

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@Russell's old room: No, I do not think the CSRTs come near minimum due process. The defense is not allowed to call witnesses. Evidence used against the defendant is kept secret, even from the defendant, before during and after the hearing. Look at O'Conner's concurrence in Hamdi. Most damnably, it allows evidence obtained through torture and other illegal methods. They offer no relief — the statute does not require RELEASE upon successful challenging of one's status as an enemy combatant. Furthermore the tribunals are not a neutral check on Executive power, which is the fundamental purpose of habeas that is not satisfied in any way by the kangaroo CSRTs. It's essentially saying these military courts, creations of the Executive (with the cowardly assent of the legislative branch, yes) are not subject to judicial oversight. Oversight on the sufficiency of a legal process — the area in which the judicial branch has the MOST expertise (opposite of how Roberts spins it). The process doesn't even match up to the Army Regulations under Article 5 of Geneva, and those are done in the immediate aftermath of invasion with immediate access to witnesses and evidence, not SIX YEARS after arrest.

For illustration, see this excerpt from a transcript of a real CRST involving Mustafa Ait Idr, who has just been informed that he knows an Al Qaeda operative:

Detainee: Give me his name.

Tribunal President: I do not know.

Detainee: How can I respond to this?

Tribunal President: Did you know of anybody that was a member of Al Qaida?

Detainee: No, no.

Tribunal President: I'm sorry, what was your response?

Detainee: No.

Tribunal President: No?

Detainee: No. This is something the interrogators told me a long while ago. I asked the interrogators to tell me who this person was. Then I could tell you if I might have known this person, but not if this person is a terrorist. Maybe I knew this person as a friend. Maybe it was a person that worked with me. Maybe it was a person that was on my team. But I do not know if this person is Bosnian, Indian or whatever. If you tell me the name, then I can respond and defend myself against this accusation.

Tribunal President: We are asking you the questions and we need you to respond to what is on the unclassified summary.

Yeah. Totally due process.