2006/06/29

Hamden v. Rumsfeld Decided - Looming Constitutional Crisis?

By now the news that the Supreme Court has delivered a stinging rebuke to Bu$hCo in Hamden v. Rumsfeld is spreading around the Blogsphere. I'll leave it to others to give the ruling the praise it deserves. I just want to note two interesting facts:

First, the court split 5 - 3 right down the so-called ideological divide. Presumably Chief Justice Roberts would have voted with the Scalia/Alito/Thomas minority, since it was his own circuit court ruling in the same case that was overturned. But interestingly, as the Scalitoson axis moves to the right, the remainder of the court seems to be moving to the left under justice John Paul Stevens, the "other" chief justice. The problem for liberals here is that Justice Stevens is in his 80's, three decades Roberts senior.

Second, a lesser know fact about Hamden v. Rumsfeld is that Congress, at Bu$hCo's urging, tried to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction with last December's Detainee Treatment Act. Now setting aside the fact that Congress does not have that power (which the Supreme Court noted, BTW), if Bush really believes that the Supreme Court has been stripped of its authority in the case, will he now provoke a constitutional crisis by ignoring the ruling?

12 Comments:

You know, Kvatch, it strikes me that it is never too late to start impeachment proceedings.
Court stacking aside, the mechanism where new law can be tested in the court is still the only real safeguard.
It’s amazing, when push comes to shove, how often jurists actually fulfill their responsibility to the constitution (in most countries) before their partisan duties.
The high court in old D’nunder generally puts duty first – generally…
But it’s not fail-safe. Let’s hope Stevens lasts long enough to allow a balanced replacement.
See, even this crusty old bastard can be moderately optimistic sometimes!
I just caught some of Rush in my car. He was apoplectic over the ruling. Paraphrasing: "These are terrorist killers and now we have to give them fair trials? This will tie up the courts. Why do we always have to try to project some positive image to the world?" Kablah kablah...

Sick. And then the dittoheads started calling in. After they praised Rush in hushed tones of uber respect, they were even more apoplectic and vicious than Rush. Even more sick.

Well, at least after last weekend, we now know why Rush is such a hard on.
Sadly, besides Stevens, none of the other justices are what I would call young so the complexion of the court could change at any time.

Abi, shame on you! ;-)
They took away the boy king's crown. It scares me to think of what he may do next.
Cartledge, I pretty much agree with you. Scalia aside, most US Supreme Court justices move to the center after their appointment. The bigger problem we have here is how little work is actually done by the justices themselves as opposed to their 20-something clerks. Stevens is one of the few who still writes the first drafts of his opinions.

And, to answer Kathy's concern, Stevens is elderly but he remains a very spry and seems to remain thoroughly engaged with the court. Hopefully he'll remain that way for a few more years.
These are terrorist killers and now we have to give them fair trials?

Abi, I'm sure that you and I are in agreement that the way in which we treat the least deserving among the accused is what really matters. Rush and his cabal don't have a clue where that's concerned.

WS, can we impeach for attempting to make the Judicial a non-coequal branch of government? I would...

PoP, let's hope nothing. The lawyers are supposedly "reviewing" the decision. I say...what's to review?
As I frequently asked my poor misguided Republican brethren, "Would You Trust Hillary With This?" Unless they are willing to cede Hillary Clinton the power to try persons she names on her sole discretion as "enemy combatants" before military tribunals in violation of international treaties to which the US is a signatory, then NO ONE should have that kind of power. This decision ALMOST makes up for SCOTUS screwing over Texas on the DeLay Redistricting Scam case. Justice was preserved because this Court is VERY jealous of the prerogatives of the judicial branch and are hostile to virtually any encroachment by anyone, even their hand-picked President.
It was nice to see a Supreme Court ruling go against Bush and the far right. I was wondering if the chances of that happening were virtually nil, but it looks as if the Court still has some life in it.

PoP, I also wonder what the Boy King will do next. I'm sure he has already done what we won't hear about (unless we read it on Capitol Hill Blue or some other "subversive" website) is that he's had a couple of big tantrums and probably hollered out loud about why do we have to have a Supreme Court, a Constitution, a House, a Senate, etc.

I would dread what Dumbya might do next, but I don't think he has the power to purposefully do something that would fly in the face of the law, just to see what the response would be. I keep thinking that no matter how bad things look, how leaderless the left seems to be, 51-49 is not really a mandate... and as much as he says he doesn't pay attention to public opinion, I don't think he wants to create a whole lot more trouble for himself than he already has! I hope not, anyway.
Interesting point about what he will do next. You may be right that a constitutional crisis is coming.

There was something creapy about the way Bush took the whole thing in stride publicly. There was one statement he made something to the effect of...

this is the first step in a process. Now that the court has ruled, we can move forward.

Move forward and do what? Cetainly they have no intention of giving Hamden a fair trial, so what is the plan? I'm shaking in my boots actually.
I hate to agree with praguetwin's sentiment, but ... {shudder}

For now, I'll just chill and be glad it was 5-3. Good Friday to ya Kvatch.
...this is the first step in a process. Now that the court has ruled, we can move forward.

Yeah, I saw this as well, and my reaction was much the same as yours. WTF?! The Supreme Court has ruled Geroge, and that's the end of it. There's no fracking process here. Git about implementing their ruling, spirit and letter, you warthog-faced buffoon.


For now, I'll just chill and be glad it was 5-3. Good Friday to ya Kvatch.

I'm glad as well. Like I said, seems that Kennedy may be sliding a bit to the left there. As for Friday...thanks. Think I'll take a break from politics for today.

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