Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?
Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn’t say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
This is not an official transcript. When the real transcript goes online, please alert me.
Update: See Robert Parry at Consortium News.
Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesnâ€™t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.
â€œThere is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; thereâ€™s a prohibition against taking it away,â€ Gonzales said.
Gonzalesâ€™s remark left Specter, the committeeâ€™s ranking Republican, stammering.
â€œWait a minute,â€ Specter interjected. â€œThe Constitution says you canâ€™t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesnâ€™t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless thereâ€™s a rebellion or invasion?â€
Gonzales continued, â€œThe Constitution doesnâ€™t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesnâ€™t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspendedâ€ except in cases of rebellion or invasion.
â€œYou may be treading on your interdiction of violating common sense,â€ Specter said.
Specter helped create this monster. I hope he’s sorry now.