Arresting questions

It seems like its going to be a big week for U.S. District Court Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C. Bruce the Veep sends us this from TPM in which Judge Bates, handling the litigation from the House of Representatives to enforce its subpoena against Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, asks the logical question “why are you running to court to enforce your subpoena by litigation when you already have the power to arrest?
Judge Bates, appointed by George W. Bush, who has already ruled in favor of the Administration in the lawsuit brought over disclosure of records of the Vice President’s secret energy task force, and in the Vice President’s favor in a suit brought by Valerie Plame, is hardly speaking out of turn here. He may well find in favor of the Administration, or he may find in favor of Congress, but as the good judge says, either way, an appeal is almost inevitable, by which time the Bush Administration will have left office and the investigation of the U.S. Attorney firing scandal will be a matter of ancient history. Judge Bates, alas, has put his finger on the pulse of this Congress: they want the appearance of doing something, without actually risking having to do it. And this with an Administration with record low approval ratings. “Feckless” seems a good word to describe Speaker Pelosi and the Gang especially coming as it does shortly after their recent telecom-immunity sell-out, permitting the Bush Administration to (once again) get away with spying on its (millions of) political enemies under the guise of “national security.” Deep sigh.
And, also in the Judge Bates department, Candace reports that her historic original Supreme Court habeas corpus petition (to which she was kind enough to let me make suggestions before filing) has been denied, without prejudice, in light of the Boumediene case, which means that it will revert to the District Court, where, like the House subpoena case, it is assigned to… Judge Bates.
In other GTMO news, it appears that in a case called Parhat, the Neocon All-Star Team U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the government’s “unlawful combatant” determination and has ruled that in the case of one Chinese Uighur prisoner at GTMO, the government must charge him, or release him. The beginning of the end? After well over six years of unjustified detention and accompanying mistreatment… we can hope so, but one suspects that the ultimate exit strategy for GTMO will be in the hands of the next President. Still, as GTMO attorney Joe Margulies has quipped, the Bush Administration will likely fold as soon as it hears the words “call your first witness.”
Stay tuned.