Thursday, March 1, 2007

Treason doth never prosper:

What's the reason?

For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

And on a completely unrelated note (

This country's celebrated and exalted attorney general, a Mr. Alberto R. Gonzales, testified before congress that the U.S. Constitution does not grant the right of habeas corpus. His actual quote was: "there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There's a prohibition against taking it away."

This person, Mr. Gonzales, went before congress to argue that the captives held at Guantanamo Bay were not entitled to due process under the law. You may snicker at this quote, as I did, simply by virtue of the fact that he appears to be using a very clumsy (i mean, uh, clever) lawyer trick to deny something that is plainly evident.

Which is true. But to stop at this easy comedic aspect hides a more important truth, which is that the Constitution really does not grant, or purport to grant, habeas corpus. Mr. Gonzales, in fact, correctly interprets Article One, Section 9, which states: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

Why does it not? Because habeas corpus is a privilege that pre-dates any government and exists independent of any law. You might say it is "endowed by the creator". The Framers did not have the arrogance to "bestow" this right on "citizens", because whether or not a person is a citizen of any particular nation is irrelevant: no person, in any country, should be deprived of his or her liberty without due process of law.

And, of course, the Supreme Court has also, many times, confirmed the idea that the Constitution simply assumes the existence of habeas corpus, rather than purporting to grant it, in much the same way that it assumes "people" are "alive" without purporting to grant them life. For example, you might think it odd if the Supreme Court ruled that the freedom of speech could be taken away because the Constitution does not grant the right to free speech, but merely states that "congress shall pass no law... abridging the freedom of speech."

I have seen the thoughts of Mr. Gonzales echoed on this subject by blog commenters (yes, they were of the Wise County retrograde variety, but still. A sample (and I quote): "Old rules don't handle this newest situation."). They say -- and I paraphrase -- that the Constitution must be interpreted in light of modern day threats, and that the Founders never envisioned the type of enemies we face today. Etc.

I think us Freedomists will probably win this debate, in part because I feel like you have really reached the bottom of the barrel in terms of arguments when you must claim that the Founders were naive, short-sighted, or lacked vision.

And who will be charged with this reinterpretation of the Constitution? Why, the noted visionary George W. Bush and his die-hard band of cronies, sycophants, and yes-men. Uh... I mean, his White House Counsel, Attorney General, and Supreme Court appointees.


Kingfish said...

Most of the founders have been portrayed by history revisionists as espousing Judeo-Christian ethic. Simply not true. The words in the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation (our first government model),and The Constitution are not words like God, father, Lord, etc. etc. Instead the word "creator" is used. Why? The writings of Jefferson suggest he was a diest. Admitting their is a higher power, but relating it through its revelation in nature. Something to consider. While I admit that Judeo-Christian ethic is relevant in the government model, I do not think it is a fair statement to suggest the founders intended it in a superior way.

I think it is more convenient for people with Christian agendas to falsely validate that as fact. Most people do not question it as valid because they have heard that message so many times they except that as they might a cola ad.

My point is, the game of politics and life can be manipulated if you change the rules and how the rules are defined. I personally think this is madness especially when you consider the great writ. I honestly do not understand how educated people can think that denying the rights to a few will not end up at some point applying to all.

In any case, I cannot think of another period in American History where the office of Attorney General has been inhabited by such a string of diabolical people, with Janet Reno being the worst.

Thought terrorism can do more harm than any bomb, and that is the worst threat.

Anonymous said...

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams