Good news, bad news, from the U.S. Supreme Court in the tortured (pun intended) case of Saleh Al-Marri: the Court declined review of the case as moot, but vacated the loathsome Fourth Circuit case that held, as a matter of law, that the United States is a dictatorship. [You will recall that Al-Marri, a legal resident, has been detained for years in the brig in Charleston in isolation condition without charge as "an enemy combatant".]
What's that TD... an American court held that the US of A is a dictatorship? Well, yes: the Fourth Circuit in Richmond held that there are circumstances under which a President can say
abra cadabra hocus pocus "national security" and flush the entire Bill of Rights down the toilet, and pick up anyone he (always a he is our President) wants and lock him up in a dungeon, forever, without any semblance of due process. If that's not the definition of a dictatorship, kindly tell me what is?
Al-Marri's counsel Jonathan Hafetz (interviewed by me here) said that as disappointing as it was for the Court not to take the case for review, at least the Court vindicated the Constitution by vacating the loathsome 4th Circuit case. The Justice Dept. pretty much said the same thing, and did what the Bush Administration didn't do with Padilla, to wit, it ended the insistence on the government's "right" to lock up the next poor bastard.
For which we are, for the moment anyway, grateful. Baby steps. When the Obama Administration does something to vindicate the Constitution... it will get props from us. Today... at least half props.
The Court may ultimately be forced to decide the issue in order to rule on whether al-Marri’s treatment complies with the Sixth Amendment ‘right to a speedy trial’.
Speedy trial - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Speedy trial refers to one of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to defendants in criminal proceedings. The right to a speedy trial, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, is intended to ensure that defendants are not subjected to unreasonably lengthy incarceration prior to a fair trial. Violations of the principle, such as where the state has failed to bring the case to trial for an “unreasonable” length of time, may be a cause for dismissal of a criminal case.”
Posted by DICKERSON3870 at March 7, 2009 7:54 PM