Monday, May 25, 2009

U.S. Constitution (1791-2009)

Shorter Obama: Bush spent eight years ripping the Constitution and the rule of law to shreds. I will now light the remaining shreds on fire, bury their ashes, and stomp on their grave. That is all.

Cue Greenwald's predictably awesome rant here. He makes the excellent point that Obama's system of dealing with detainees basically rigs the outcome in the government's favor. If we can get a conviction, use the courts. If we can't get a conviction in the courts, use a military kangaroo court. If we can't even get a conviction there, don't bother with the courts and just throw them in jail anyway. That's some catch, that Catch-22.

What baffles me is that the Obama administration isn't even considering the possibility that Bush made a mistake by putting some of these people in Gitmo in the first place, and that there might - gasp - be innocent people there. So Obama's saying that Bush screwed up in every conceivable way except that he was perfect in choosing who to detain? I find that hard to believe. So do these people.

Greenwald has an embedded video of Rachel Maddow's take, where she makes the obvious Minority Report reference that, for some reason, everyone else has missed. Charlie Savage explains how this could tie into the SCOTUS appointment, and why the nomination of Elena Kagan would be at least a partial disaster while the nomination of Diane Wood would be a good thing.


Miguel said...

Hurray for change?

Mike said...

Yes we can... extend our world record for longest-lasting piss, with the U.S. Constitution serving as the urinal. Le sigh.

Ben said...

You are right about "preventive detention." But I don't think military commissions are necessarily "kangaroo courts."

There's already another system of justice out there for violations of the rules of war: military courts martial. IF the commission system hews closely to courts martial (as opposed to the review system set up under the Bush Administration to determine whether someone was an "enemy combatant" - now THAT was a kangaroo court), then I don't think such courts are that bad.

It seems that the proposed commissions are modeled on courts martial, with one potentially disturbing difference: making it easier to get hearsay evidence admitted.