Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Obama Largely To Blame For SCOTUS Guantanamo Ruling

John McCain's promise to close Guantanamo is one strike against him in my playbook, but I can't find a quarrel with his position on yesterday's awful Supreme Court decision extending habeas corpus to terrorist foreign combatants.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Friday sharply denounced a Supreme Court decision that gave suspected terrorist detainees a right to seek their release in federal courts.

"I think it's one of the worst decisions in history," McCain said. "It opens up a whole new chapter and interpretation of our constitution." ...

McCain ... attacked the decision, saying the law he helped write "made it very clear that these are enemy combatants, they are not citizens, they do not have the rights of citizens."
He might have thought about that before calling for the closing of the prison, so his slam of the SCOTUS decision rings a bit hollow. But in this political year, I'll take it gladly -- especially when compared to Obama's reaction.

Of course, I haven't found a reaction from Obama, which isn't that surprising because he is probably considering his options ... none of them too attractive ... before getting someone to write words for him to deliver smoothly from his teleprompter.

Here's the cause of his troubles:
Lawyers for Gitmo detainees endorse Obama

(January 28, 2008) -- More than 80 volunteer lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees today endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama's presidential bid.

The attorneys said in a joint statement that they believed Obama was the best choice to roll back the Bush-Cheney administration's detention policies in the war on terrorism and thereby to "restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community." The attorneys are representing the detainees in habeas corpus lawsuits, which are efforts to get individual hearings before federal judges in order to challenge the basis for their indefinite imprisonment without trial.

The attorneys praised Obama for being a leader in an unsuccessful fight in the fall of 2006 to block Congress from enacting a law stripping courts of jurisdiction to hear Guantanamo detainee lawsuits. The constitutionality of that law, which was part of the Military Commissions Act, is now being challenged before the Supreme Court in one of the most closely-watched cases this term.

"When we were walking the halls of the Capitol trying to win over enough Senators to beat back the Administration's bill, Senator Obama made his key staffers and even his offices available to help us," they wrote. "Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. ... Senator Obama demonstrated real leadership then and since, continuing to raise Guantanamo and habeas corpus in his speeches and in the debates."

(Read the whole article here.)
We know how that turned out, so we can thank Obama for the mess the five Sept. 10-think judges on the SCOTUS have put us in.

We know what Obama is feeling about the decision: Elation. He worked hard to achieve giving enemy combatants the opportunity to use our courts as a weapon of war -- a right we did not extend to the thousands of Nazi prisoners of war who were on our land, not offshore in Cuba. But Obama's work was in the fall of '06 -- basically a decade or so ago in Obama Time. Now that he's a general election candidate, he'll have to figure out how to fake a different, less hardcore hard-left response to use when he's asked for a response to the decision.

One thing is for certain: He will work hard to separate himself from the 80 volunteer Guantanamo lawyers. The bodies on the other side of the separated from Obama gap are becoming legion; I wonder if there's room for 80 more.

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