Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Judiciary, our Last best hope for Freedom

Judge Questions Sweep of Bush's War on Terrorism
If this paragraph doesn't give you the screaming willies, you aren't awake:

After hearing Green's hypothetical questions, the military agreed it could imprison a Muslim teacher whose class includes a family with Taliban connections. It also agreed that it could detain a man who does not report his suspicions that his cousin may be an al Qaeda member, or a reporter who knows where Osama bin Laden is located but does not divulge the information to protect an anonymous source.

or try this one on for size:
"If a little old lady in Switzerland writes checks to what she thinks is a charitable organization for Afghanistan orphans, but it's really supporting . . . al Qaeda, is she an enemy combatant?" the judge asked.

Boyle said the woman could be, but it would depend on her intentions. "It would be up to the military to decide as to what to believe," he said.

When I studied the 1st amendment we had to look at a long line of cases where the Supreme CT got it wrong, and upheld things like the Sedition Act of 1919 (which made it a crime to criticize the war effort) or the Criminal Syndiciate acts of the 1920's (which made it a crime to espouse anything resembling Communist beliefs. But I always believed that those dark days were past us, and we lived in more enlightened times.

I wonder now if I was only kidding myself when a government lawyer can make these sorts of arguments with a straight face.


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