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Monday, July 22, 2024

Retired judges: Bush is violating basic Constitutional rights

Nine retired federal judges accused the Bush administration and Congress of trying to deprive detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of the most basic legal right.

Nine retired federal judges accused the Bush administration and Congress of trying to deprive detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of the most basic legal right.

Legislation under debate on Capitol Hill would strip federal courts of the power to hear detainees’ challenges of their treatment and indefinite detention at the Guantanamo Bay.

"Depriving the courts of habeas jurisdiction will jeopardize the judiciary’s ability to ensure that executive detentions are not grounded on torture or other abuse," the nine wrote Thursday in a letter to Congress.

Congress and the Bush administration would be skating "on thin constitutional ice" in depriving courts of their power to hear Guantanamo detainees, the letter added.

The retired judges said federal courts have long balanced the rights of defendants against the need to protect classified information vital to the nation’s security.

Most of the attention in the debate over detainee rights at Guantanamo Bay has focused on how to conduct military commission trials that meet constitutional standards. Plans call for trying a few detainees, while the remainder, more than 450 in all, remain in indefinite detention.

By focusing on military commissions, the White House and Congress "have chosen to address the tail rather than the dog, and the result is that the Constitution is getting bitten," Eric M. Freedman said in an interview. He is a Hofstra University professor of constitutional law and a consultant to the legal team representing the Guantanamo detainees.

The nine retirees who signed the letter are appeals court judges John Gibbons, Shirley Hufstedler, Nathaniel Jones, Timothy Lewis, William Norris, George Pratt, Lee Sarokin, Patricia Wald and U.S. District Judge William Sessions.

© 2006 The Associated Press

27 thoughts on “Retired judges: Bush is violating basic Constitutional rights”

  1. Honestly Now:

    Actually, you and others here might be surprised to learn that in many ways, I still consider myself a Conservative. As much as I’m now ashamed to admit it, I was even one of Rush Limbaugh’s confirmed “ditto heads” for many, many years and I agreed with him most of the time.

    However, I’ve since grown increasingly disgusted with both him (for his blind allegiance to President Bush and the Republicans) as well as with the dogma now emanating from BOTH mainstream political parties. These days, I find I’m closer to calling myself a Libertarian than a Conservative. However, I’m anything BUT a Liberal!

    That is, I guess I’m now somewhere in the middle. Fortunately, there ARE other political philosophies out there besides the pabulum the “Republicrats” are now dishing up for all us to blindly follow. So, I did my homework and I found that my views on most major issues in the world simply don’t mesh with a “one sizes fits all”, “with us or against us” political label.

    I’ve also learned to be very careful not to hang simplistic political labels on other people based solely on their posts (or the political positions they may seem to espouse) in Internet forums. All too often, my first impressions have been totally wrong.

    That’s because, contrary to what Mr. Bush and his cronies now seem to want us all to believe, we humans are FAR too complex for our political philosophies and our outlook on the rest of the world to be completely “black” or “white”.

  2. Keith – looks like the mods ate it. Dunno why – as our discourse has been, it was on subject, polite, perhaps even informative, etc, etc. Oh, well.

    FWIW – it’s been fun, I never mind a debate ( even with a misguided liberal 🙂 ) as long as it doesn’t turn into the usual kindergarten crap that some others here have envinced.

    See ya next time !

  3. Keith – just for reference – a fairly detailed ( and, I might add, wonderfully stated ) post of mine in response to your got the old ‘being held for moderator’ message, and hasn’t shown up yet. I have no idea when / if it will. It’s Doug’s board, so it’s up to him.

  4. Arlo –

    I suggest you tell the folks who are writing about the other 1,100 LIVING retired ( from the bench, although possibly emplyed elsewhere ) about that.

    Or better yet, do some research and find something that actually supports your number. Your post above does not.

  5. Yo, “Honesty”!


    “The departure rate of federal judges in recent years is alarming. Between 1990 and April 2003, 77 federal judges either resigned or retired. While 16 retired, 51 left for private practice. In the last 28 months, the ABA reports that 22 federal judges have resigned. This is an alarming national trend, and it is largely attributed to the current level of judicial compensation.”

    You will notice that, in 13 years, sixteen (16) federal judges have retired. A little over 1 per year.

    You will also notice that while some federal judges may sit on a bench for their lifetimes, they are not immortal.

    They croak. Which moves them from “retired” to “deceased”.

    So, the number of 50 retired federal judges stands.

  6. Loudpatriot –

    If you had said anything that resembled a factually based coherent thought, I would respond to it.

    Sadly, however, you didn’t, and thus our little dialog must end.

    Have fun with your mindless slander.

  7. To Honesty Now :

    1. You need to read the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (you seem to have the same opinions as the Nazis)

    2, fas·cism
    a) often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
    b) a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

    The essence of fascism is that government should be the master, not the servant, of the people.

    3. “When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.” — Thomas Jefferson

    4.”The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” James Madison

    5. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state.

    6.”The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.” Winston Churchill

    7.14 signs of Fascism
    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    2. Disdain for Human Rights
    3. Enemies/Scapegoats used as Unifying Cause
    4. Supremacy of the Military
    5. Rampant Sexism
    6. Controlled Mass Media
    7. Obsession with National Security
    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    9. Corporate Power is Protected
    10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    14. Fraudulent Elections

    Heil Bush

  8. Honestly Now,

    Your logic as regards the “ancient” Geneva Conventions may also help explain the “progressive” logic of Bush and Co who now apparently want to circumvent our US Constitution and all that it says as just a “godddamned piece of paper”.

    I mean, after all, if we ARE in a “whole new age and dealing with a whole new reality”, then all that stuff in there about protecting our rights to privacy as citizens and our right to due process under law now needs to go right out the window as well. Our founding fathers never dreamed of the world we now live in and the challenges we now face, so maybe it, too, needs to “go”. And, in their day, I’m sure those same founding fathers, many of whom had previously signed the Declaration of Independence were considered “terrorists” to their brethren in England as well, for they, too, were trying to rid their homeland of an occupying army.

    The reason we have all those fighter aircraft now standing at the ready to shoot down civilian airliners is that WE have fomented such hatred among other peoples of the world that we have no choice but to now abandon these long-sacred precepts in the name of “homeland security” and, in the process, turn our once free nation into an armed camp.

    I’m firmly convinced that if the United States hadn’t been gallivanting all around the world in the last several decades to invade and then occupy other sovereign nations at will to “further our national interests” (at the obvious expense of theirs) then there would be little or no need for their citizens to now resort to terrorism against us in an effort to get us to leave.

    These people have no standing armies. They have no squadrons of fighter planes, or tanks or howitzers or aircraft carriers. So, quite naturally, they are now resorting to the only weapon (terrorism) they have at their disposal that seems to be working. We (and those governments we are also underwriting in the region, such as the Government of Israel) are illegal occupiers of their sovereign territory. And, it would now appear that, at least for the moment (and despite all of the high-tech hardware that we are throwing into the fray) their “terrorists” (patriots?) seem to at least be holding their own.

    You are absolutely correct…we ARE in a different world. But, sadly, I believe it is a world that, to a large extent, our own imperial ambitions have largely shaped.

    We have apparently not yet learned that invading another’s sovereign territory to force our own style of “democracy” down people’s throats with a gun pointed at their head simply doesn’t work. And then we compound the problem by arrogantly wondering why their people fight back.

    Terrorism is a symptom. Imperialism is the problem…OUR imperialism. As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.

  9. Chad – thanks for exemplifying the Village Idiot wing of the DemocRat Party. Goodbye.

    Keith – the point so many people miss, is, we are in a new age, dealing with a whole new reality.

    30 years ago, or 60, no one anticipated the day when we would have to have American fighter aircraft on the ready-line prepared to shoot down American planes full of American civilians over America, because of the nature and tactics of the enemy. No one anticipated that they would try to plan things like ‘blow up 10 civilian airliners over the Atlantic’. No one envisioned such possibilities as ‘a small man-portable / truck-portable nuke that could be obtained by terrorists, smuggled into America, and detonated’.

    Further – no one anticipated a trans-national movement ( Islamic Jihadism ) that is not readily localized to one or several nation-states who can be held responsible ( and dealt with in traditional ways ), but rather a free-floating loosely-knit coalition of various groups with a common goal and asymetrical tactics, including ‘hiding among civilian populations’.

    Further – no one anticipated the current ‘rules of engagement’ that we hold ourselves to. No one would ever guess that when we locate 150 enemy fighters in a close group, and have them in gun-sight, we would decline to pull the trigger because they are standing in a cemetary.

    Further – no one anticipated the insane extremes that would be read into the GC by the leftists, and the bizarre acceptance their ludicrous positions would find. I read the other day that there was some concern as to whether feeding the detainees MRE’s ( current stock, not out-dated, the same chow our troops get ) might be considered ‘torture’ as compard to ‘hot fresh meals’. These days, if you pick up a certain book with the wrong hand, that’s torture. If you play loud music, that’s torture. If you don’t keep it nice and comfy for them, that’s torture. If they see a nekid woman, that’s torture.

    These things were never the intent of the GC, and were never anticipated by the signatories. And when you add them all up – they are in a whole different universe than anything the GC ever thought of.

    So, in fact, it does NOT ‘walk like a duck’, etc. Rather, it walks like some critter that had not been invented when the GC was written, and this critter lives in a world the GC never imagined, and does things the GC never dreamed.

  10. Sorry, Honestly Now…but I don’t buy your argument.

    Any way you cut it, just like the guerillas in Korea and Vietnam were held as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, Bush and his ilk have been treating these people all along as enemy combatants. By default, that makes them prisoners of war under the International Law of Armed Conflict, as they are now being held under US military control on a US military installation. Hanging the “detainee” moniker on them is simply yet another sorry neocon smokescreen to try and cover their own posteriors down the road when the excrement finally hits the fan…as it is (thankfully!) now starting to do.

    Or, to put it another way, if these people aren’t enemy combantants, then why go to all the trouble to incarcerate, guard, and feed them on a military base? And why did the CIA feel the need to shuffle them in and out of foreign jails (in secret no less) if there was nothing to hide? Why not simply throw them all into a civilian jail somewhere and be done with it?

    As I said….if it walks like a duck……..

  11. Arlo – more info for you

    “The new proposal would apply to the more than 2,000 active and retired federal judges,…”


    “….At the moment, there are about 862 seats for federal judges ……”

    Thusly, we have > 1,100 retired Federal Judges.

    As I stated, your ’50’ number is BS.

    9 out of 50 is almost 20 percent. 9 out of 1,100 is

    “….At the moment, there are about 862 seats for federal judges ……”

    Thusly, we have > 1,100 retired Federal Judges.

    As I stated, your ’50’ number is BS.

    9 out of 50 is almost 20 percent. 9 out of 1,100 is

  12. To Keith –

    Because some factions continually raise the false allegation that it is not. Read the GC carefully – it applies to a very specific group of people, in specific circumstances. These include UNIFORMED soldiers of a NATION, for instance. It does NOT include spies, it does NOT include those fighters hiding in civilian garb, it does NOT include those mingling in civilian populations as civilians until they see a moment to strike, etc, etc. These people, these actions, have NEVER been covered under any equivalent of the GC, nor the GC itself.

    The detainees are lebelled as such because they are NOT POW’s. POW’s are uniformed soldiers of a foreign nation who have been captured. Part of the definition in the GC of a ‘soldier’, BTW, is that they are ‘openly armed’, and “…identified by a large recognizable flag or symbol, identifiable at a distance’. Terrorists in civilian clothes with suicide vests, or RPG’s hidden in the nearest private residence or school or hospital, are NOT covered.

    These terrorists are NOT ‘covered by American law as if they were American citizens’. They do NOT have ‘American Constitutional Rights’.

    As to Presidential mantras – just keep saying ‘I did NOT have sex with that woman, I did NOT have sex with that woman…’

    To Arlo – I find your number ’50’ totally incredible, as in ‘not deserving of credit’. There is NO WAY IN HELL that there are only ~ 50 retired Federal judges in this country. Not the slightest chance.

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