The Dartmouth Observer
Monday, November 07, 2005
Potentially Good News
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari (agreed to hear) to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Balkanization, as usual, elegantly sums up the importance of the case:
Suffice it to say that the D.C. Circuit’s decision to allow the use of secret evidence and to not permit the protections granted by the Geneva Conventions to be enforced in federal court deeply undermines international law and human rights here and around the world. Yesterday, 450 law professors (including myself) issued a statement urging the Court to grant certiorari in Hamdan to address “foundational questions” involving “the relationship between the President's constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief and the existing constitutional, statutory, and international rules and tribunals that govern the conduct of war.”
Balkanization more recenlty suggested the Supreme Court, as opposed the 2nd Circuit Court, should be the finally authority on whether the judical branch should be exteremly deferential to the executive's framing of this war.
Hamdan offers the Court an opportunity to provide some much-needed oversight. The lower court’s opinion in Hamdan has not been called a “blank check” to the President in the war on terror without reason. It allows the President to convene extra-Constitutional military tribunals to try detainees in the war on terror and prohibits the detainees from enforcing the protections of the Geneva Conventions in federal court. Moreover, the tribunals are stripped of important procedural protections, allowing, for example, the use secret evidence and unsworn statements. Defendants do not even have the right to be present at their own trials. At the very least, the Court should want take a look at this case and decide for itself if this unprecedented grant of authority is warranted.
I look forward to the judgement of the court. If you wish to know what the 2nd Circuit decided on the matter, and what my take on that was, I direct you to my post on the issue entitled "Applying the Geneva Conventions". And if you think the worst of the torture revelations are over, I counter with evidence from the Guardian that more accusations of mistreatment emerge every day.
The charges were issued Saturday against five soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment in connection with a Sept. 7 incident ``in which three detainees were allegedly punched and kicked while awaiting movement to a detention facility,'' the U.S. military said in a statement.
And in case you were wondering what torture meant, Andrew Seal breaks it down for us in a quote from Bush's speech.
Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.