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Detaining the Constitution…

Welcome back everyone. Today, I am going to shift gears and introduce the first of two entries looking onto the national stage. I know dozens of blogs already do this, but with some very important midterm elections just weeks away, how could I resist? Be warned, I may be a little sarcastic.

So the Senate passed a new bill on prosecuting detainees, or exclusively in the GOP’s terms, terrorists. Why the distinction? As you know Americans, especially the Bush administration, never make mistakes. Therefore, all detainees MUST be terrorists. The trials are meant to appease those freedom-hating justices who struck down the administrations old plan.

[Sigh] That felt good. In all seriousness, folks, we do need legislation to prosecute honest to God terrorists. Our civilian courts are not the right venue, this is true (except for, God forbid, American citizens). Wherever and however suspects are tried, it must be fair and just. However, the bill denies them appeal to the Supreme Court. Tell me, what is the harm in having just one added layer of judicial oversight? The Supreme Court, heard (and rejected) the appeal of German saboteurs during World War II in Ex Parte Quirin. Was anybody hurt by their getting an appeal? Six out of the eight conspirators were executed anyway.

Perhaps most troubling is this provision enabling people apprehended in the United States to be classified as enemy combatants, and thus at the mercy of these tribunals. This is where my sarcastic comments come in. Without review by the highest court in the land, how could an egregious miscarriage of justice be rectified? Trampling non-Americans rights is not exactly outside the realm of possibility. Can anybody say Maher Arar (Canadian deported to Syria and tortured) or Abu Ghraib?

Then there is the illegal wiretapping. Yes illegal, despite pending bills that more or less guts the FISA Court. Why? It violates the fourth amendment. Remember, people, this wire tapping is on calls that have one end in this country…possibly on both ends; we really do not know.

Plus, all of this could be irrelevant if Bush decides to tack on a signing statement! Yes, those lovely autocratic fiats of our President. Why worry though? House Majority Leader John Boehner reminds us that “To always have reasons why you just can’t vote ‘yes,’ I think speaks volumes when it comes to which party is…more willing to take on the terrorists.” The problem is, Congressman, your only reason to vote yes is the White House said so. Sure, it is in the name of fighting terrorism, but the real reason is to scare people into voting for you so you can raise hell regarding the other 90% of national issues (taxes, energy, trade, to name a few). That ladies and gentlemen is how you win elections!

However, we should not stray from staying the course to Constitutional disaster. Beware anti-American statements such as “Let us honor our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and our responsibility to protect the American people and to prosecute and punish those who would do harm to them,” by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Commie! Oh, there’s that sarcasm again. Don’t worry, WMASSPI loves you, Nancy.

Tune in tomorrow for Politics and Insight coming up on November 7th.

Info from The Boston Globe and The New York Times was used in todays blog.