The 9/11 terrorists clearly hoped to destabilize the United States. Our president has unwittingly helped them to succeed. In response to the attacks President Bush has pursued policies that have helped to make America a weaker nation. Thankfully, the Supreme Court stood up again this week to defend the Constitutional principles that have made our nation a beacon of freedom.
Eugene Robinson sums it up well:
It shouldn't be necessary for the Supreme Court to tell the president that he can't have people taken into custody, spirited to a remote prison camp and held indefinitely, with no legal right to argue that they've been unjustly imprisoned -- not even on grounds of mistaken identity. But the president in question is, sigh, George W. Bush, who has taken a chainsaw to the rule of law with the same manic gusto he displays while clearing brush at his Texas ranch.
So yesterday, for the third time, the high court made clear that the Decider has no authority to trash the fundamental principles of American jurisprudence. In ruling 5 to 4 that foreigners held at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detentions in federal court, the court cited the Constitution and the centuries-old concept of habeas corpus. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion seems broad and definitive enough to end the Kafkaesque farce at Guantanamo once and for all.
"The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times," Kennedy wrote. Again, it's amazing that any president of the United States would need to have such a basic concept spelled out for him.
That reference to "extraordinary times" takes care of a specious argument that Bush and his legal minions have consistently tried to make: that when the nation is at war, as it has been since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the president has extraordinary powers that allow him to do basically anything he wants.
Religious leaders, of course, have been calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay for years now. We've also pushed for the prohibition of torture. It is disappointing that John McCain has reversed course on so many of these issues and pledged support for the failed policies undertaken by President Bush.
A moral society can not be maintained through the use of immoral means.