Thursday, December 18, 2003

Someone send Bush a hanky

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The president of the United States does not have the power to detain an American citizen seized on U.S. soil as an enemy combatant, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, in a serious setback to the bush administration's war on terror.


"Where, as here, the President's power as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and the domestic rule of law intersect, we conclude that clear congressional authorization is required for detentions of Americans on American soil...."

Of course the Bush administration had a perfectly good reason for tearing up the Constitution, um, I mean extra-judicially holding an American citizen:

Federal prosecutors have argued Padilla should not have access to attorneys because they said he posed a threat to national security and defense lawyers would interfere with his interrogation. They also believe defense lawyers could unwittingly be used to pass messages to al Qaeda operatives.

Isn't that just like a defense lawyer? Always getting in the way of a good interrogation. And don't even get me started on how often defense lawyers are unwittingly used to pass on secret messages to international terrorists. That always makes me so mad.

Update: Make that a full box of Kleenex:

US court grants Guantanamo rights

"Even in times of national emergency... it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike," said the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It added it could not accept the position that anyone under the jurisdiction and control of the US could be held without "recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement".

This might be a good time to run out and by a lottery ticket. Can't trust the stars and planets to stay aligned forever now, can we?