I know I’m a little late on this one, but I want to put it out there. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo detainees should be afforded the same legal rights as an American citizen. Andrew McBride sums up the decision in his WSJ opinion piece. I’m not a legal expert, but McBride succintly spells out the ramifications of this sorry decision –
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion confuses the civilian criminal justice system and the waging of war. The Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court places many roadblocks in the path of a conviction for a crime, and for the loss of liberty, or even life, that may follow. The guarantee of counsel, the right to subpoena witnesses and confront adverse witnesses in open court, and the suppression of evidence gathered in violation of law, all make sense in the context of domestic law enforcement. To protect liberty, we are willing to sacrifice some efficiency in our criminal justice system. Our motto remains: Let 100 guilty men go free before one innocent man is convicted.
The situation is entirely different when the nation faces an external threat. In fighting an enemy, there is no reason for the judicial branch to “check” the political branches. The idea of our judiciary protecting the “rights” of the Nazis or the Viet Cong from executive overreaching is every bit as absurd as it sounds. But had Boumediene been decided in 1940, more than 400,000 Axis troops held in more than 500 military facilities in this country during World War II would have had a right to challenge their detention in federal court.
As you might have guessed, this decision was made by the liberal wing of the Court joined by Anthony Kennedy (who authored the majority opinion). I’ll keep posting this stuff to remind people about the stakes of the next election. If Obama is elected, we can only expect more of these types of irrational, misguided decisions.