Padilla Appeals Panel: Constitution? What Constitution?

Ruling a week ago today, a three-judge panel from the 4th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Bush can hold Jose Padilla in a Navy brig forever, if he chooses to, without charging him with a crime: US can confine citizens without charges, court rules.

Legal experts said the debate is likely to reach the Supreme Court. Andrew Patel, an attorney for Padilla, said he might appeal directly to the Supreme Court or first ask the entire 4th Circuit to review the decision. “We’re very disappointed,” he said.

The ruling limits the president’s power to detain Padilla to the duration of hostilities against al Qaeda, but the Bush administration has said that war could go on indefinitely.

This is the nightmare that results from allowing the people who crafted the metaphorical “War on Terror” to treat the metaphor as reality. More time has now elapsed since 9/11 than the total time it took for us to go from Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender.

We are not fighting a war against al Qaeda. We are dealing (not particularly effectively) with a criminal terrorist conspiracy designed to survive in the face of our best efforts to eradicate it. Even if we’re lucky enough to eventually get a president capable of mounting such efforts, al Qaeda will exist, in all likelihood, for the rest of our lifetimes. Suspending the Constitution for the duration of the “war” is in fact equivalent to saying the Constitution no longer operates, period.

One Response to “Padilla Appeals Panel: Constitution? What Constitution?”

  1. ethan-p Says:

    If this ruling sticks, what is to stop the federal government from detaining suspected drug users or drug dealers without a trial under the guise of the War on Drugs? Further, why not round up all suspected indigent people under the guise of the War on Poverty?

    What bothers me is that from a political side, those who would argue that this is all acceptable tend to trust Bush (and were likely Bush voters). The folks on the other side tend to come from an anti-Bush camp. Let me turn this around for the Bush supporters for a second (the hater’s will get theirs too). What if a left wing nut were in office; would the the same people who support such policy (who are Bush supporters) be as supportive of such a policy then?

    Similarly, would the Bush haters here support a policy when a president whom they trust is in office?

    My position is from a person who does not have much trust for any government, and further, understands the need for oversight to protect us from the inevitable tyranny of government. Am I alone in my view? Is this totally politically motivated, or are there others that want to be protected not just from GW Bush, but from any president?

    Don’t we have due process of law clauses in the constitution and bill of rights for a reason?

    This is not ‘Nam. There are rules. Am I the only one here who gives a shit about the rules? (Mark it zero)

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