Friday, December 19, 2003

Double victory

Hot on the heels of this morning's ruling about Jose Padilla comes one from the Ninth Circuit, that "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo can access the US courts:

"Even in times of national emergency... it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike"

The Bush administration will no doubt appeal, probably on the basis that aliens don't have rights. Such a long way from those stiring words of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"...

And on a similar topic, Billmon has an excellent post on the Padilla ruling and Habeas Corpus, which is however marred by this bit:

Drawing some clear and bright lines -- like, for example: "no American citizen arrested on American soil will be denied their constitutional right to due process -- seems like a prudent safeguard against the tendency of absolute power to corrupt absolutely. Maybe the line should be even brighter, and guarantee all prisoners captured on U.S. soil, citizen and non-citizen alike, access to the courts. I'm open to debate on that.

The United States has sunk far indeed when even those who defend freedom within it defend it only for themselves, and not for all.