Another day, another case alleging prisoners tortured and abused at the hands of the United States Government, and another assertion by the Obama Administration that the Bush Administration and its officials be shielded from such a suit. In this case, the lawsuit was brought by the families of two detainees who were found dead in their cells in 2006.
While there is certainly legal “flux” in just how responsible the government might be legally in tense situations such as GTMO (or even stateside prison settings) where mental health starts to deteriorate and conditions go untreated, the Obama Administration makes it nice and simple, asserting simply that the Fifth and Eighth Amendments (that’s the requirement on due process of law and the ban on cruel and unusual punishment) don’t apply to actions of the U.S. government when it doesn’t want them to and application of that darned Constitution would (shucks) just be so, you know, embarrassing to the U.S. of A.
I’ll just say… I don’t think so. Even the “torture memos” didn’t claim the Constitution “didn’t apply”… it simply made up new definitions of what constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” In some sense, the current position is at least more honest than the Bush/Addington/Cheney/Yoo, et al. crew (kind of the difference between Roberts/Alito and Scalia/Thomas… the former pretend that they are not intent on radically altering jurisprudence, the latter happy to tell you of their intent)… but it still seems a radical departure from what was once thought to be the law.
But its not a radical departure from positions taken in the Bush Administration. In fact, its indistinguishable… the consistency, in fact, is maddening.