April 4, 2007
Don't Rely on the Supreme Court
By James Wilson
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the EPA must justify its reasons not to regulate greenhouse gases. Never mind that the Constitution prohibits Executive Branch agencies from enacting regulations in the first place, as that is a power reserved to Congress. This is further evidence that the Supreme Court can not be relied on to protect the Constitution when the politicians decide to violate it. Only the power of the people can restore the Constitution's Separation of Powers , which is why Downsize DC drafted the Write the Laws Act. Even more disturbing, "A divided Supreme Court declined Monday to consider fresh questions about the legal rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, rejecting an appeal by inmates who are seeking access to federal courts to challenge their imprisonment as enemy combatants." It appears that a detainee can only get access to the federal courts (the D.C. circuit, specifically) only after he has had a "special review hearing" (military tribuanl) run by the Defense Department that "allows evidence that would be inadmissible in a U.S. court and provides the detainee a military representative but not a lawyer." And when the D.C. circuit hears the appeal, it must "base its review on standards different from those that govern habeas petitions." These procedures were essentially ratified by last year's Military Commissions Act, and Monday's decision effectively affirmed them. But a military tribunal is only competent to hear cases of misconduct involving military personnel. If the President wants to call someone -anyone- a terrorist, and imprison and torture him forever, it would be a risky career move on the part of a tribunal member to second-guess or override his own Commander-in-Chief. This is why civilian courts are so important. Any immigrant may be designated an "enemy combatant" without habeas corpus rights. So is an American citizen who can't immediately produce papers validating his citizenship. And when will a detainee actually get his rigged military hearing? There are 385 detainees in Guantanamo - plus many more in secret prisons throughout the world - but "only a handful have been charged." Again, we can not rely on the Supreme Court to protect our liberties. We must do it ourselves, with public pressure. We must tell Congress to repeal the Military Commissions Act".
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