Harvey Silvergate, writing for Reason, on Civil Liberties and Enemy Combatants: Why the Supreme Court’s widely praised rulings are bad for America
If you were relying solely on media accounts for guidance, you would have gotten the impression that the Supreme Court’s June 28 rulings on “enemy combatants” were a clean sweep for civil liberties. With few exceptions, reporters and commentators interpreted the rulings as unwavering affirmations of the judicial branch’s authority in the face of an overreaching executive intent on detaining, indefinitely and incommunicado, citizens and noncitizens designated as enemies in the war on terror.
Not everyone took the bait. You can feel free to place me firmly in the “not buying it” category.
The reality, however, was significantly less uplifting. Berkeley law professor John Yoo, a former official in John Ashcroft’s Justice Department, concluded that the Court had left the government “with sufficient flexibility to effectively prevail in the future.” The effects of the rulings have yet to be fully felt since the proceedings have a long way to go before they are finally played out, but the fine print of the Court’s controlling opinions, combined with the manner in which the government is proceeding with enemy combatant hearings, strongly suggests that widespread proclamations about the triumph of liberty were premature and probably in serious error. Each decision included enough qualifications and concessions to eviscerate in practice the due process rights that the justices praised in theory.
I am proud to say that The Multiracial Activist has repeatedly advocated on the public record on behalf of civil liberties and due process for ALL.
This struggle isn’t over yet, and I’ve got a sick feeling in my gut that the excesses of the first Bush Administration will seem relatively minor compared to what these loose cannons have in store for the next four years. This fight will continue – or at least until I “disappear.”
This entry also posted at Taking The Gloves Off.