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And, yes, I DO take it personally: De facto suspension of the Constitution - Bush pronounces a detainee "an unlawful enemy combatant" and the person loses all human rights
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Monday, April 14, 2008

De facto suspension of the Constitution - Bush pronounces a detainee "an unlawful enemy combatant" and the person loses all human rights

robert parry posting on consortium news via alternet...
Under the Bush-Yoo theories, all Bush has to do is pronounce a detainee "an unlawful enemy combatant" -- whether a U.S. citizen or not, whether there is any credible evidence or not -- and the person loses all human rights.

As radical -- and as shocking -- as these theories may seem to many Americans, Bush is within one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court of having his vision enshrined as

If one more vacancy occurs among the five "non-imperial" justices -- and the replacement is in line with Roberts-Scalia-Thomas-and-Alito -- the U.S. Constitution could be effectively altered to eliminate key individual liberties -- from habeas corpus and other fair-trial rights to bans on "cruel and unusual" punishment to protections against self-incrimination and "unreasonable searches and seizures."

Though civics books tell us that the Constitution can only be amended by two-thirds votes of the House and Senate and approval by three-quarters of the states, the reality is that five ideologues on the U.S. Supreme Court can alter the nation's founding document by simply voting as a bloc.

And since the "war on terror" is unlike other wars -- in that the enemy is vaguely defined, the duration could be forever and the war's location can be anywhere -- the Bush-Yoo logic suggests that the de facto suspension of the American constitutional Republic is not just a short-term emergency measure.

Instead, the shift from a Republic, with legal protections of individual rights, to an Empire, led by an Executive who can operate without any constraints, would be permanent. As long as the President says some danger lurks out there, he or she could assert "plenary" -- or total -- powers as commander in chief.


Though Bush may not get another chance to further shape the Supreme Court with the appointment of another Roberts or Alito, his successor likely will. For some Americans angered by Bush's assault on the Constitution, John McCain's past support for Bush's judicial appointments may represent one of the strongest reasons to vote against him.

The future of the American Republic may be at stake.

"may" be at stake is a serious understatement... the future of the american republic HAS BEEN AT STAKE for a number of years now and WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT STAKE even after the inauguration of a (presumably) democratic president on 20 january 2009, if the current mechanisms of unfettered executive power are not both ROLLED BACK and FORMALLY REPUDIATED prior to that time... i don't want those mechanisms in the hands of ANY president... not mccain, not hillary, not obama...

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