Friday, June 30, 2006

Guantanamo Bay Supreme Court Ruling Stuns Bush

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Bush Administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and the legal procedures surrounding those incarcerations were illegal. President Bush was obviously stunned when he discovered this yesterday, while leading the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi through a tour of Graceland.

His shock was best captured in his answer to a question posed by reporters:

Asked whether Guantanamo would be closed, Bush thought about this for several seconds before saying that he hadn't had a chance to review the ruling. "I wish I could have given you a better answer," he said, almost pleading for no further questions on the issue, questions he couldn't answer.

I'm no legal analyst and hardly an expert on the Supreme Court, so I can't tell you what the ruling will mean for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I'm not sure legal analysts can even agree on what will happen.

What I can tell you is that Bush's shock is evidence that he felt that his decision was not only right in a moral sense, but also right with the law. President Bush BELIEVED that the Supreme Court that he and his father and Reagan essentially hand-picked would side with him on this case. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Scalia all sided with the Administration, while new Chief Justice John Roberts was sidelined because of a previous ruling he made as an appeals court judge on this case.

The President has acknowledged that this ruling will not put suspected terrorists out into the World. The bottom line is that the government needs to offer these detainees the opportunity to have transparency in their legal proceedings. Secret military tribunals do not protect us from terrorism. If anything, holding 400 people without officially charging them provides terrorists with more fodder to recruit and incite Muslims for their cause against our country.

Like many of the other facets of the Administration's "War on Terror", keeping things secret does little to make us safer. The Administration wants us to trust that they will make the right decisions about what to do with intelligence and secret information gathered through these programs. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration doesn't have the kind of track record that puts us at ease when it comes to intelligence and handling it. Remember this is the group of bozos that outed a CIA operative working against Al Qaeda, had intelligence about credible threats prior to 9/11 and claimed that it had proof the Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Forgive me if I want them to be more transparent, since I think information is the safest when their not the only ones with access to it.


CowboyLaw said...

Given that I am, nominally, the "legal analyst" at this Blog, let me say that I'm not exactly sure what the Court's opinion will mean. I think that people are taking an overly-expansive view of the opinion. All the Court really ruled was that the Administration could not use military tribunals to try prisoners at the GitMo prison. It did not rule that the GitMo prison must be demolished, or that it was unconstitutional for Bush to establish the GitMo prison (although I believe the law would support both conclusions). So, I think in the end the effect of the opinion may be limited. But what the hell do I know?

Lord Bling said...

Prediction? This will be a blessing in disguise for the administration. Rove will have Bush paint this as 'activist judges' at the highest level working against democracy, or some bullshit like that.

And we all know that an 'activist' judge is an open-minded one who sometimes rules against you.