Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our suicidal, ignorant and dangerous Supreme Court

In the 25 years or so that I've studied the Supreme Court as a student and professor, I've never seen the Court do what it did earlier today when it ruled that the United States cannot deny detainees held at Guantanamo Bay their constitutional right to appeal their convictions by military tribunals in the federal civil courts: knowingly issue a ruling that will kill more Americans.

Five years ago, when the Court invalidated a Texas sodomy law that punished consensual sex between same-sex partners, the justices irresponsibly pushed the United States down a path where sexual predators, even those who were not gay, could have a go at horses, cats, squirrels, rabbits (assuming they could catch them), the nice lady that works at the front desk at the public library, the kindly old gentleman that works as a greeter at Home Depot and, should the urge strike, masturbate in public.

That horrible decision came seven years after the Court ruled that Colorado had no right to tell advocates of traditional family values, which, according to the unofficial American cultural and political dictionary, are defined as activities between heterosexual couples or by heterosexual individuals, preferable Christian, that conform to the norms that one would expect of the L.L. Bean catalog if it came to life and encompassed all the erotic appeal of the Land's End swimsuit collection, that they could prevent gays and lesbians (and those who believe they have legal rights) from using the legislative process to secure laws protecting rights they surely do not deserve.

After all, after the Court had joined with the forces of our "abortion culture" to conspire with "abortion providers" to kill innocent babies, what could one reasonably expect from a liberal, activist, out-of-control cabal of justices determined to undermine traditional American values, such as state-sponsored Christianity, government-enforced racism, second-tier citizenship for women and minorities out numbered in the political process, the lack of representation for the criminally accused and the need for unconventional thinkers to keep their unconventional thoughts to themselves?

How do I know America is headed down a one-way street towards hell, determined to place its own citizens at risk while undermining the most cherished right of all in the American political tradition -- the right of those in the majority, preferably, white, Christian and politically, culturally and economically conservative to tell everyone else how they should live?

Because Justice Antonin Scalia, the only justice on the current Court who, besides maybe Justice Clarence Thomas, possesses the sole knowledge of the constitutional Framers' true and original intent, said so. According to Justice Scalia, he and only he understands -- again, with the possible exception of Justice Thomas -- what the Constitution means, and he and only he understands what Adams, Hamilton, Jay, Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Marshall and all the other official framers of the Constitution really meant when put together such phrases as, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," or "The Congress shall have Power To . . . borrow Money on the credit of the United States," or "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it," or "No State shall make or enforce any law [to] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." No other justice, save the equally dedicated Clarence Thomas, whose ancestors were permitted no say in the drafting of the original Constitution and most of its amendments, including those passed immediately after the Civil War that formally enfranchised black Americans -- free and enslaved -- has any clue what the Constitution means. So cavalier is their regard for their fellow citizens, especially the increasingly victimized class of white, Christian conservatives, that these justices, particularly Anthony Kennedy, who must -- must -- bear some family tie to Benedict Arnold, are willing to push the United States into anarchy for no other reason than to impress the Harvard law faculty and the editorial board of The New York Times. Just think about this for a minute: what possible constitutional rationale exists to extend constitutional rights beyond that small, powerless class of citizens who write our nation's laws, manage our political affairs, hold a disproportionate share of our wealth, chart our country's economic course, take the entrepreneurial chances that create our robust, dynamic and recession-proof economy, determine our cultural signposts and norms and decide if we should invade this country or that country? Remember what the great Alexander Hamilton said about the risks of democracy: there are the rich and well-born, and then there is the great unwashed populace, which doesn't really know its ass from its elbow (I'm paraphrasing here). There should be a permanent place for the first-class to control the idiotic temptations of the second-class (still paraphrasing) to ruin everyone else's good times. Give the same rights to everyone else and all you've done is accelerate the path to self-destruction.

Freakin' A, right!

So here we are, two days after the Court more or less gave the terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay, who have been held anywhere from six weeks to six years without knowing why they are being held, a get-of-jail-free card to start killing Americans. Before this decision, I thought the writ of habeas corpus permitted individuals being held in American jails to challenge their incarceration as improper. Not so. Now, when we grant an inmate the right to habeas corpus, we should go ahead and measure them for a new suit and some shoes to match, since they'll no doubt be on their way back into society. And they won't be getting jobs as grocery store baggers or living in halfway houses to ease their adjustment back into society. They will start killing Americans -- lots of them -- since we, the United States, are at war, as Justice Scalia was good enough to remind us, with radical Islam. For those of us who thought that we were at war with radical Christians at home, Justice Scalia's wagging finger is a reminder to us all of what the stakes really are. Of course, while the detainees -- all guilty as sin, otherwise why would they continue to be held without charges? -- have been vacationing at Guantanamo, getting their three squares and some much needed exercise per day, over 4,000 Americans have been sent to their death in Iraq, with tens of thousands more maimed and psychologically battered for life. Scores of Iraqis, who had nothing to do with the September 11th, 2001, attacks, have died in a war that should never have been fought. Our president believes we can only honor the dead by continuing to send more Americans to die on behalf of a cause that has no end goal, other than to create a permanent American presence in the Middle East which our host "ally" has said repeatedly it does not want. A free and independent Iraq, says President Bush, can only exist if Americans remain to ensure that whatever Iraqi governing authority the United States finds acceptable continues to do what the administration believes it should do, which is to keep doing what the administration believes it should do, whether the administration knows what it's doing or not.

Conservative lawyers quite rightly point to a Supreme Court that is "out of control," and hope that the American electorate will elect Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who called Boumedienne v. Bush “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” No doubt Senator McCain's trenchant analysis of the Boumedienne decision will give appeasers like Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama something to think about before they consider the consequences of turning the Guantanamo terrorists -- not accused terrorists, because there is no such thing -- loose on an unsuspecting American citizenry to rape, pillage and, of course, terrorize everyone and anything in its path. And since the same Justices who voted to strike down the Texas anti-sodomy law voted to release terrorists back into the wild, raping is certainly now without legal consequence, as is most likely the pillaging and terrorizing. What are these majorities of Republican-appointed justices thinking, assuming they are thinking at all?

God save this Honorable Court! . . . soon . . . or watch us all perish!

1 comment:

Rob Kimball said...

I'm glad someone is aware of the travesty of justice that just transpired.

THANKFULLY for us, we have a sitting President and standing Congress with the courage and tenacity to channel Old Hickory himself, to stand tall in the face of these activist justices and say "The Court has made its ruling, now let them enforce it!"

Love it or leave it.