Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Greenwald on the Al-Marri decision

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Some reading to do:

The decision (.pdf) of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Al-Marri case technically rests on narrow grounds of statutory construction regarding the scope of the Military Commissions Act, but it is actually quite extraordinary in the broader constitutional principles it affirms and the tone it uses to apply them.

Next to the Padilla travesty, the Government’s treatment of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri — just on the facts alone — may very well be the single most despicable instance of deliberate denial of the most basic liberties. I have written about the facts and circumstances of al-Marri’s detention here.

I really recommend reading (at least) the first 11 pages of the court’s decision, where the court sets forth in very stark and clear terms exactly what we have done to al-Marri. I recall the sensation, back in law school, of reading legal opinions from various periods of time throughout our country’s history which began by recounting the government’s behavior and finding it difficult to believe that any government could engage in such conduct without provoking a massive backlash (and sometimes it did).

That is the reaction which this opinion provokes (even though the facts are familiar). No matter how many times one thinks about it, reads or writes about it, it never ceases to amaze — literally — that our government has asserted the power to imprison people, including those on U.S. soil, and keep them locked up for years and years, indefinitely, without so much as charging them with any crime or even allowing them access to lawyers. And that is to say nothing of what is done to them while being held completely incommunicado. That was just a line that one thought the American Government could not cross without enormous backlash. Yet our government has done exactly that for years — and has spawned a set of presidential candidates vowing to continue doing so at least as aggressively, if not more so — without much protest at all.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 June 2007 at 5:23 pm

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