Bloggers are hashing out the Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that curtails the Bush administration’s power to try terror suspects by military tribunal. On a lighter note, bloggers giggle and point at the chick fight that is Star Jones’ exit from The View.
Supreme rebuke: Ahmed Salim Hamdan, a former body guard and driver for Osama Bin Laden, challenged the Bush administration’s attempt to try him as an “enemy combatant” in a military tribunal. The court ruled 5-3 (with Chief Justice Roberts recusing himself) that “[t]he military commission at issue is not expressly authorized by any congressional act,” according to the majority opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens’ decision also cited the Geneva Conventions, which has some bloggers in a tizzy.
Marty Lederman at the SCOTUSblog posts a lengthy analysis of the decision and highlights the effect it could have on interrogation practices. “This almost certainly means that the CIA’s interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act.”
“Once again the Supreme Court has usurped the executive and legislative branches, this time effectively signing a treaty with Al Qaeda that grants terrorists Geneva Convention protections and access to the American justice system,” writes an incensed Jonathan R. at GOPbloggers. Oak Leaf, a contributor at conservative PoliPundit who served in Afghanistan, provides a military perspective: “I wasted 12 months of my life in Afgahnistan for this. … This afternoon, I am removing myself from the volunteer list at Human Resources Command-St. Louis to re-deploy. I will not be the only one.” Academic Elephant at Elephants in Academia calls the ruling a “dangerous nuisance” for the Bush administration, but stresses that it will not signal the end of efforts to punish Gitmo terror suspects. “Justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg and Souter, and even more equivocally Justice Kennedy … are careful to assert that individuals such as Salim Ahmed Hamdan are no good, and should be held ‘for the duration of the hostilities.’ In other words, no matter how much we scold, for heaven’s sake don’t let them out.”
Right-winger Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters also wonders why terror suspects should be protected by the Geneva Conventions. “The terrorists we have captured do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from civilians; in fact, they take great pains to hide themselves among civilians, deliberately target civilians, and use civilians as human shields. Applying Geneva Convention protections to these terrorists undermines the primary reason for these conventions: protection of civilians.”
On the other hand, political moderate Sean Aqui at Midtopia applauds the court for reigning in President Bush. “It should be a no-brainer that creating a separate legal system for arbitrarily defined prisoners – one with far fewer legal protections than either our civilian or military justice systems – was a bad idea. It might be Constitutional (though still ill-advised) if Congress created such a system, but to do so solely through executive power represented an usurpation of Congress’ role. I’m glad to see our judicial branch come down clearly on this.” Aqui’s not the only one. “Today’s Supreme Court ruling in the Hamdan case was an encouraging development for a couple of reasons. One is the obvious limit on the president’s desire to expand his war powers; the other is a setback for court stripping,” writes Democratic political consultant Steve Benen at Carpetbagger Report. “Bush was asking for quite a bit here. He wanted the power to hold prisoners as ‘enemy combatants,’ instead of prisoners of war; he wanted to deny them the protections of the U.S. criminal justice system, including the right to counsel; and he wanted the administration to oversee its own secret tribunals. All of this, apparently, was a bit too much for five justices.”
Hoffmania says the ruling makes Bush look foolish on the international stage. “Moreover, in the eyes of the world, this decision by his hand-picked Supreme Court simply makes Bush look more and more like the little American Dictator he really is.”
No matter, writes the Counterterrorism Blog’s Andrew Cochran, who predicts that the administration will quickly circumvent the ruling. “The President and GOP leaders will propose a bill to override the decision and keep the terrorists in jail until they are securely transferred to host countries for permanent punishment,” he writes. “The bill will pass easily and quickly. And if the Supremes invalidate that law, we’ll see another legislative response, and another, until they get it right. Just watch.”
Read more on Hamdan here and here. In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick and former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger have been analyzing Hamdan and all the other big decisions this week. Emily Bazelon calls out Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl for fooling with the Congressional Record over the debate regarding the Detainee Treatment Act.
Star wars: After announcing on-air that she would be leaving The View after nine years as co-host, Star Jones revealed to several media outlets that she was asked to leave by ABC. Barbara Walters says she was betrayed by the revelations. And bloggers are loving every back-stabbing minute.
“Determined, it would seem, to have the last word on her abrupt departure from The View, unemployment recipient Star Jones gives an exclusive interview to the Daily News — proving that if there’s a reporter within 2 miles of her, the woman simply cannot stop talking,” Gawker reports, listing Jones’ beefs with Walters and newly tapped host Rosie O’Donnell. Gossip blog Jossip has a juicy blow-by-blow and quotes O’Donnell commenting on Jones’ rapid weight loss: “She thinks she’s Beyonce.” “Just with more jelly,” adds Jossip.
Gawker’s sister blog, Defamer, congratulates the ABC tech department on its efficiency in eliminating all traces of Jones. “We marveled yesterday at the cool proficiency with which ABC managed to blot out any trace of recent Barbara Walters’ Shit List topper Star Jones from their website,” Defamer muses. But then readers point out that an old biography is still posted that references Jones’ impending marriage. “Had you asked then which would last longer–her job or her marriage–we think most would have assumed the former.”
Here’s more on Jones’ departure from The View.