Finally, someone remembered the Bill of Rights
Editor, The Boise city News
It couldn't have come in a better season, the U.S. Second Circuit Court
of Appeals, in a two to one decision told the Federal Government, President
George Bush, and Fur....oops, I mean Attorney General John Ashcroft,
that only the Congress of the United States has the power granted by
the Constitution to detain American citizens as combatants.
With this decision, many, of the detainees in Cuba will soon have the
legal representation guaranteed under the Constitution that has long
been denied them. This includes Jose Padilla who has been held without
benefit of legal representation for a year and one-half. The government
has been, with this decision, told to release Padilla from military
custody within 30 days.
In the decision the court said:
"Presidential authority does not exist in a vacuum and this case
involves not whether those responsibilities should be aggressively pursued,
but whether the President is obligated in the circumstances presented
here to share them with Congress."
"Where, as here, the President's power as Commander-in-Chief of
the armed forces and the domestic rule of law intersect, we conclude
that clear congressional authorization is required for detentions of
Americans on American soil...."
The opinion only affects those U.S. citizens arrested on American soil
and has no effect on those captured on the field of battle.
Ashcroft's Justice Department is reviewing the opinion, however, the
Attorney General has seemingly long forgotten the U.S. Constitution
much less its Bill of Rights.
Padilla is accused by the administration of having plotted to use a
so-called radioactive "dirty bomb".
If he is guilty, let him be tried and judged to be guilty. However,
for our nation, which has according to the president, been attacked
because others fear our freedom; for that nation to take and abuse those
freedoms because of fear, it has lost the war without a fight.
As the nation's top lawyer, Ashcroft must enforce the Constitution.
To violate it is both criminal and un-American.
The word for the week is demagogue.