Friday, June 08, 2007

Congress May Restore Habeas Corpus

A transcript from mcjoan at Daily Kos:

Olbermann: Supporters of this act, the Military Commissions Act ... point out that other administrations have suspended habeas corpus without destroying the republic. Is this time different, and if so how and why is that pretty much a sophistry argument?

Turley: It's hardly a convincing case that you have to have the collapse of the republic. It says more about the republic than the actions of the earlier presidents. This is a system of government that was designed to be idiot-proof and God knows we've tested that through the years. But it was actually designed for multiple idiots, and it means that we can go a certain period of time with the denial of rights and we have tended to correct that and it looks like we're about to do that now. This was one of the most disgraceful moments of the last Congress and it will be equally disgraceful to see many Republicans vote to fight the effort to bring back the great writ.

Olbermann: ... It is easy to imagine Americans who are patriotic but scared, who could just sort of dismiss habeas corpus and other civil liberties as luxuries that make us weak right now. Explain why that's exactly backwards, why they're not luxuries, why they're necessities that make us strong.

Turley: First of all, habeas corpus is sometimes treated like some trick by a Philadelphia lawyer. It is actually the foundation for all other rights. When the government throws you into a dungeon for what you say or who you pray to, it's habeas corpus that's the right that allows you to see the enforcement of the other rights. So without habeas corpus, the rest of it is just aspirational and meaningless.

The danger when you walk away from these values, these rights that define us have been proven by this president. The greatest irony of the Bush Administration is that his legacy will be to show the dangers of walking away from those rights that define us. We’re very much alone today. He can’t go to Canada without people protesting, Miss America can’t even go to Mexico without being booed. We’re viewed as a rogue nation and it is a dangerous world to live in when you’re alone. In Italy, they're prosecuting in abstentia our own agents. This doesn't make us safer.... It's very interesting that the lesson this president may leave for his successors is that whether you are inclined to walk away from those core rights or not, that is what puts us in the greatest danger.

Olbermann: The right to bear arms, to believe your religion or to not believe any religion at all, to say what you want, these rights get people fired up, no matter what side of the debate they're on. Is not habeas corpus essential to all of them? You don't have that, it doesn't matter what the second amendment says?

Turley: That's right.... all those rights are meaningless [without habeas corpus] because it's habeas corpus that allows you to get to a court who can hear your complaint. So without habeas corpus it's just basically words that have no meaning, and this president has shown the dangers of the assertion of absolute power. He has asserted the right to take an American citizen, declare them unilaterally an enemy combatant and deny them all rights. The courts have said otherwise and now Congress will say otherwise. [Any transcription errors mine.]

1 comment:

P M Prescott said...

Without Habeus Corpus there is no democracy. Anyone who loves this country and our way of life has to restore it.