Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Habeas Denial for Guantánamo Detainees

CS Monitor reports that the federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act, which denies Guantánamo detainees the right to legally challenge their detention (Habeas Corpus). The majority decision talks about how striking down the MCA would be to "defy the will of congress," but that's not the issue here. No one claims that congress doesn't want to limit court access to detainees, the MCA makes that abundantly clear, but the constitution also makes it abundantly clear that congress can't suspend the right of Habeas Corpus except in times of rebellion or invasion. The constitution recognizes that the right of Habeas Corpus is fundamental to a fair and even justice system. Maintaining a fair and open system of justice is the primary function of government. There is no way that phrase can be interpreted as not limiting the power of congress to suspend Habeas Copus, but if it could, congress doing so is still a major disservice to the people congress represents because it sets a terrible precedence, ripe for abuse, and because it makes it orders of magnitude easier and more likely for the people to violate the rights of detainees through the government. Whether or not congress can constitutionally deny the right oh Habeas Corpus to detainees, doing so delivers a major blow to the justice system as a moral force and drives the government further away from serving the people into ruling the people.

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