Judge to Bush: Stop Pissing on the Constitution

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Bush Administration, torture

Adam Liptak just posted this on the New York Times web site:

In a stinging rejection of one of the Bush administration’s central assertions about the scope of executive authority to combat terrorism, a federal appeals court ordered the Pentagon to release a man being held as an enemy combatant.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote, “even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”

“We refuse to recognize a claim to power,” Judge Motz added, “that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

Wonder which rightie blogger will be the first to say that Judge Motz supports terrorists?

The ruling was handed down by a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., in the case of Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar and the only person on the American mainland known to be held as an enemy combatant.

Mr. Marri, whom the government calls a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda, was arrested on Dec. 12, 2001, in Peoria, Ill., where he was living with his family and studying computer science at Bradley University.

He has been held for the last four years at the Navy Brig in Charleston, S.C.

Get this:

Mr. Marri was charged with credit-card fraud and lying to federal agents after his arrest in 2001, and he was on the verge of a trial on those charges when he was moved into military detention in 2003.

I can’t help but think that if people like Marri had any certifiable ties to al Qaeda, the Bushies would have shoved it in all our faces now.

Writing for the majority, Judge Motz ordered the trial judge in the case to issue a writ of habeas corpus directing the Pentagon “within a reasonable period of time” to do one of several things with Mr. Marri. He may be charged in the civilian court system; he may be deported; or he may be held as a material witness; or he may be released.

“But military detention of al-Marri,” Judge Motz wrote, “must cease.”

Prediction: Whatever is done with al-Marri, the public will never get a close look at him.

Update: More details from Balkinization.

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13 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chief  •  Jun 11, 2007 @2:38 pm

    Judge Motz is my hero. To stand up for the Constitution is honorable.

  2. Sachem  •  Jun 11, 2007 @3:50 pm

    The poets, songwriters and charismatic activists have been notably absent from the scene while our republic has been brought asunder. And though the writings of the blogosphere have created a sense of community for the real based intellects, it has been very distressing to watch the sequential erosion of liberties without the “interference” of that pesky third branch.

    I hope that the Guthrie Kerouac Dylan vein of our culture will finally be tapped by some accidental genius who come to personify the struggle of our inclusive dissent.

    While surfing through the FDL comments earlier today, I came upon this YT video True Lies by a young artist named Taalam Acey. Many of our graying ilk many find this “form” as unaccessible as our parents did rock’n’roll, but there is talent here and I hope that the anger in the African-American community can be converted to massive voter turnout in ’08.

    Remember that the “caging” of votes in Tampa started this nightmare.

    May the Habeas be with your corpus.

  3. Jonathan Versen  •  Jun 11, 2007 @4:11 pm

    naturally I was spurred to look for such a conservo comment. Haven’t found it (thus far), but I came across a Nov ’06 progress report on the case from Glenn Greenwald, here.

  4. sniflheim  •  Jun 11, 2007 @6:26 pm

    Motz is, I think, one of the main people in the American Constitution Society, formed to counteract the Federalist Society. I used to read 4th Ct. cases regularly and I’d call her very moderate, which, on the 4th, made her a flaming communist. I don’t imagine the place is any saner now. So a rehearing could of course turn out differently.

  5. Baltimore Boy  •  Jun 11, 2007 @7:11 pm

    Diana Gribbon Motz comes from a not exactly radical background.

    Her father, Daniel M. Gribbon, was a clerk for Judge Learned Hand, and was later a conservative pro-business lawyer in D.C. at the renowned firm of Covington and Burling, where he was the managing partner in the 1970s.

    President Reagan appointed her husband, J. Frederick Motz, first as a federal prosecutor, in 1981, and then as a federal district judge, in 1985.

    Diana Jane Gribbon Motz has outranked her hubby since 1994, when President Clinton appointed her to her current position.

    Here are a couple of photos of her.

    http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/39fed/01usa/html/msa12028.html

    http://www.law.duke.edu/features/news_motz.html

    She has some more recent history which is more relevant to today’s news.

    In 2003, she wrote a powerful dissent when she was on the losing side of the Richmond Circuit’s 8-4 decision in the Hamdi case.

    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0331,hentoff,45847,6.html

    “Courts have no higher duty than protection of the individual freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. This is especially true in time of war, when our carefully crafted system of checks and balances must accommodate the vital needs of national security while guarding the liberties the Constitution promises all citizens.” — Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge Diana Gribbon Motz, dissenting, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, July 9, 2003.

  6. Douglas Hughes  •  Jun 11, 2007 @10:04 pm

    What took so long?

  7. Swami  •  Jun 11, 2007 @11:24 pm

    Bush isn’t going to stop pissing on the Constitution.. because there is no serious consequences if he doesn’t stop.

    This whole Constitution thing is a mind trip that defies articulation. I see it as abstract, I see it as intangible, and I see it as precious.. but when I see what Bush has done to degrade the concept.. I see the Constitution as worthless. Maybe that’s because there aren’t enough people willing to defend and uphold its value or treasure the ideals of which it was formed. It’s like it never had any real value if it can be surrendered so easily.

    Who knows?..Just something to think about. I do disagree with one thing that the Judge said.. She said that it — ” would have disastrous consequences”. Somehow I sense that would is the wrong tense because the violation of the Constitution has already occurred. I guess she means if Bush is not challenged for pissing on our rights, huh?

  8. erinyes  •  Jun 12, 2007 @5:09 am

    Come on Swami, who needs the constitution when we have Mastercard and Visa?

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2007 @6:09 am

    Constitution, Shmonstitution…
    Right’s of man? For men only!
    Evolution? No.
    De-evolution? Yes!
    What has happened in the past 30 years is simply astounding!

    Republican’s, who don’t believe in evolution, should just watch as we we devolve from a republic that tried to aspire to higher beliefs, into a brutish nation run by corporatist, religious thug’s. These same people, who don’t believe in evolution, are the driving force behind our county’s de-evolution.
    Moron’s: Where devolution exists, evolution exists…

    “Q: Are we not men?
    A: We are Devo?”
    http://www.lyricwiki.org/Devo:Jocko_Homo

    When you read the lyrics, even Devo said that:
    “God made man
    But he used the monkey to do it
    Apes in the plan
    Were all here to prove it.”

    I sit here in Medieval America awaiting “The Enlightnement.” Or, a knock on my door…

    But I must say, decisions like the one made yesterday give me hope! Unfortunately, they’re the exception, not the rule…

  10. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2007 @8:17 am

    Yeah, erinyes..That’s about the size of it.. I should just relax and put my faith in the decider, and then go shopping.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070611/ts_nm/guantanamo_nuremberg_dc;_ylt=AogSaYN1ZJjwNEYOmSdQaV3MWM0F

  11. D.R. Marvel  •  Jun 12, 2007 @12:27 pm

    Sure Swami…Go shoppinjg…

    But rememberr: “Don’t leave home without your Concealed Carry Permit”…

  12. erinyes  •  Jun 12, 2007 @7:08 pm

    ‘Kinda brings a new meaning to “shop ’till you drop”…..

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