The good news: a panel of the 2nd US Court of Appeals finally, FINALLY, told the Bush administration that simply declaring someone an "enemy combatant" did not provide them with an excuse to deny that person a lawyer or rights to a trial. The bad news: it isn't over.
Jose Padilla, a US citizen, was arrested in Chicago in May 2002 and has been held in a navy brig in South Carolina for a year and a half. He hasn't been allowed to see his lawyers. Although the government has said that Padilla was involved in a dirty bomb terrorist plot he hasn't been charged with a crime in any court of law. The view of the government is that they didn't even have to say what he was supposed to be guilty of, it was enough for them to declare that Mr. Padilla was an "enemy combatant" to detain him in the brig FOR LIFE in ISOLATION if they wanted to do so.
Bush's people still think that's the way it should work and will probably appeal. They are no doubt encouraged by the fact that one member of the 3 judge panel actually sided with them. The idea of the dissenting opinion was that the president needs the power to detain people who may be a threat to the public.
Let's reflect on that dissenting opinion to get a clear idea in our own minds as to what a screaming imbecile that one lame judge is.
The man has been detained for one and a half years. The immediate threat is over. HE'S IN THE BRIG. He's detained already. The issue isn't the detention. His arrest was proper. The issue is, once you've got him, YOU STILL HAVE TO LET HIM SEE A LAWYER AND TRY HIM AND LET HIM GO IF HE TURNS OUT TO BE INNOCENT.
And oh yes, the Bush Administration has had A YEAR AND A HALF to do that. Did I make that clear enough? A friggin YEAR AND A HALF.
Here is a personal note for that one lame judge: * Guess what? I think you're a threat to the American people. Good thing I'm not the president or I might declare your ass enemy combatant material and put you in isolation for, oh I don't know, how about for YEAR AND A HALF?! * -- Ha, ha, just kidding -- Dr. Wes.
Speaking of South Carolina, that was where police stormed a school recently and searched a hundred students for illegal drugs, some of them at gunpoint, because their principal thought it would be swell. What we have here is another threat to the American people. There are getting to be too many of these.
I don't expect the police to know or understand the constitution. That would be dreaming. But is it asking too much for a school principal to have read it with comprehension?
What part of the Fourth Amendment does that principal not grasp, I wonder? Was it the part about "the right of the people to be secure… against unreasonable searches?" Was he not aware that minors also constitute people? Was it the part about how search warrants were required to be specific? How specific is searching every kid in a school hallway whether they have done anything suspicious or not just because a crime may or may not have at one time occurred in that hallway days or weeks earlier by completely different people?
Here's another one, folks. Say you're on vacation in Guadalajara, Mexico, and our government, or some imbecile in it, decides they want to incarcerate you for life without charges or a hearing. Here's how they could do that. They would seize you in Mexico without clearance from the Mexican authorities. Then, they would take you to Guantanamo Base ("Gitmo") and imprison you with all the Taliban, as an "enemy combatant" (It doesn't matter if you are or not, they don't have to prove that part. They just have to declare it.)
Gitmo, a secure US military enclave, isn't really America, so all that constitution BS doesn't apply. -- that's the essence of our government's actual legal position as they fight for that power to the Supreme Court. What a crock.