Small solace

Coming as it does exactly 69 months to the day after September 11th, one of the most conservative courts in the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, issued a stinging rebuke to the Bush Administration and granted a habeas corpus petition filed by our old friend Saleh Al-Marri.
You will recall that Mr. Al-Marri is a lawful U.S. resident, native and national of Qatar, who had been living in Peoria, IL with his wife and five children when he was arrested on various charges, but then at the whim of the President hailed off as an “enemy combatant” on the same bogus premise (and held in the same very real naval brig) as Jose Padilla, and so held going on over four years, without charge or trial. We interviewed Jonathan Hafetz, one of Al-Marri’s attorneys, around this time last year; Mr. Hafetz features prominently in the Grey Lady linked article.
The Fourth Circuit, in somewhat of a surprise to me as they went the other way for U.S. citizen Jose Padilla, said that our system of Constitutional law means nothing if the President has a blanket out for made-up military necessity… in short, the Court reversed the made-up “suspend the Constitution” clause that John Yoo, David Addington, and a 2-1 majority of the very same appeals court, heretofore believed existed. The Court gave the Bush Administration a number of options: release Al-Marri, transfer him to the civilian criminal justice system, deport him, or arguably, seek certiorari review in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the in camera (and ex cathedra) military detention must come to an end.
One might think the rule of law might be reasserting itself, and we might be witnessing the beginining of the end of our unfortunate era of executive overrreach. One might think that; but one doesn’t bet that way. Not sure if the Supreme Court would touch this: I’d think they wouldn’t, but one never knows. 589 days to go.