Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bushie went a -Courtin' and he got slapped. Mmm-Hmm.

My, my. The Supreme Court bitch-slapped Georgie, and I've been too busy to blog.

In the first place, you can read the entire decision (pdf file) here. I've tried, but Lord, is it slow reading. So be forewarned before you plow through the legalese.

It appear that the papers (worthless as ever) have missed the real story. According to Think Progress the Court just undermined Bush's case for wiretapping:

The impact of today’s Supreme Court decision on military commissions goes well beyond Guantanamo. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force – issued by Congress in the days after 9/11 – is not a blank check for the administration. From the syllabus:

Neither the AUMF [Authorization for the Use of Military Force] nor the DTA [Detainee Treatment Act] can be read to provide specific, overriding authorization for the commission convened to try Hamdan. Assuming the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, and that those powers include authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see, e.g., id., at 518, there is nothing in the AUMF’s text or legislative history even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in UCMJ Art. 21.

The point here is that the AUMF does not authorize activity that was not specifically contemplated in the text or legislative history. This is incredibly significant. The administration is relying on the AUMF to justify its warrantless wiretapping program. Here’s Alberto Gonzales on 12/19/05:

Our position is, is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence.

The Bush administration doesn’t argue that warrantless wiretapping was something specifically contemplated in the text or by Congress. Rather, the administration argues that it is implied as part of a broad authorization to “use all necessary and appropriate force.”

The Supreme Court has rejected that expansive interpretation. It’s a huge blow to the administration’s legal rationale for warrantless wiretapping.

And Scotusblog has an analysis that says that the court just blew a giant hole in Bush's mad desire to torture prisoners:

Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

Of course, it's disgraceful to think that Bush has pushed this nation to the point where we are even HAVING this argument. Did you EVER think that Americans would even have a DISCUSSION about whether it was ok to torture a prisoner? I grew up being taught that in America, the answer to that was "no" as surely as 2+2=4. Not debateable.

But as things stand, the most conservative court in American History has ruled that Bush is even too extreme for THEM. Now watch the right-wingers start declaring that the Supreme Court hates America too. According to them, everybody hates America unless they walk lockstep with a total maniac. It never occurs to them that maybe THEY are the lunatics. They think it must be everybody else. It couldn't POSSIBLY be that their 25% of the population - which just HAPPENS to be the DUMBEST and most IGNORANT 25% - is just way the hell out there, and has no idea what they are talking about.

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