home why notanymore? world photos post your comments the archives * log in
  Tue 21st, May 2019
Increase/Decrease Size of Font reduce font size
Make notanymore.net your homepage?
Go to favourite place?
Favourite place photograph
Your latest comments
* * *
* Spinning Nepal's Tragedy
* An obituary for Edward Said.
* Reading Strauss scepticly
* Comments On the Einstein Freud letters
* Einstein and Freud
* Part Two - Freud's reply
Interesting links
* * *
* Afghanistan: Abuses by U.S. Forces
* The Hutton Report (excluding appendices 1.9Mb)
* The 'New Anti-Semitism'
Tht full unpublished EU report on anti-semitism (1.11 MB)
* The CIA in Iran
* An Interesting Day: President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11
* Jews against the occupation
* Behind the Invasion of Iraq - Research Unit for Political Economy
* The Iraq Crisis: Building the case for a new war.
* The Geneva Convention
* United Nations Charter
* Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
Important speeches 03/04
*   *
* George W Bush - Address to the United Nations- September 2002
* George W Bush - National Press Conference - March 2003
* US National Security Document - 2003
* George W Bush - State of the Union Adress 2003
* John Howard - Address to Australian Parliament on Iraq - 2003
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation - 17.03.2003
* John Howard - Statement to Parliament - 18.03.2003
* Tony Blair - Address to House of Commons - 18.03.2003
* Colin Powell - Address to AIPAC - 31.03.2003
* Tony Blair - Address to the Labour Party Conference - 30.09.2003
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation -08.09.2003
* George W Bush - Address to the United Nations- 23.09.2003
* George W Bush - State of the Union Adress 2004
* George W Bush - Address to the Nation - 13.04.2004
Search Op-Ed Database
*   *
Rulings on prisoners would make Founders proud
Op-Ed - USA Today - Wed 7th, July 2004
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a much-needed message Monday about one of the bedrock principles of liberty rooted in the American Revolution:

In this country, unlike Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the government doesn't have the right to imprison people indefinitely without having to justify its actions.

What's more, that rule applies to citizens and non-citizens alike even in the current war against terrorism and on U.S.-controlled territory such as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

That message will need to be repeated if terrorism again ignites public passions.

The court's rulings came in a cluster of cases involving men captured during fighting in Afghanistan or suspected of plotting new terrorist attacks in the USA. The court rejected the Bush administration's claims that it doesn't have to answer to the courts about those it has jailed.

The decisions uphold a legal tradition that stemmed from a backlash against British colonial rule. The Founding Fathers had seen the injustices that occur when authorities can throw people into jail indefinitely. In the Europe they and their forebears had left, such practices had been routine.

So they wrote it into the Constitution. It is called habeas corpus, the right to have an independent judge review whether a prisoner is being held without justification. The idea, which originally dates back to reforms of brutish abuses during the Middle Ages, was to prevent endless imprisonment without trial and to deter torture.

Amid the public furor that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the administration sought to bypass those constitutional safeguards. It claimed the right as part of the war on terror to hold both U.S. citizens and non-citizens indefinitely without trial, without charge, without access to a lawyer. Since then, it has repeatedly told the courts to butt out.

When the cases were argued before the high court in April, a lawyer for the administration told the justices that national security demanded such unchecked power as an essential tool in the conflict.

A string of ugly wartime precedents suggests that uncritical acceptance of that national-security claim can lead to abuse. When Abraham Lincoln unilaterally suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, without Congress' approval, civilians found themselves hauled before military courts far from the field of battle, even though regular courts were functioning.

Franklin Roosevelt's internment of more than 100,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during World War II was upheld by a wartime Supreme Court, but is now regarded as a deeply embarrassing stain on U.S. history. In 1988, Congress apologized and agreed to pay reparations.

The court held Monday that Congress gave the administration the power to detain suspected terrorists, just not indefinitely. Congress can surely write new procedures and protections into law if it chooses.

Meanwhile, Yaser Hamdi, a U.S. citizen captured with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, can ask a judge to consider whether the government has good reason to keep him jailed without charging him. Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport as a terrorist suspect in 2002, can refile his suit with every expectation of obtaining a similar review. And a group of Australian and Kuwaiti prisoners who say they have been wrongly held at Guantanamo for more than two years can finally make their arguments in an independent court.

In the war to protect freedom and extend it to others, the Supreme Court has reminded the nation that liberty doesn't have to be sacrificed in the pursuit of security.
Previous PageMake a Comment on this Article?Recommend this Website?Back to Top
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP
Legal Disclaimer
*   *

Opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of notanymore, nor is notanymore responsible for objectionable material accessed via links from this site.

notanymore may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. notanymore is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Some photography has been sourced from inertiastock.xchng003.

If you would like any more information about this website please send an email to: info@notanymore.net.

notanymore, copyright 2004 back to top