The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to President Bush's war powers, taking on a case to decide whether Osama bin Laden's Yemeni driver should face a war crimes court at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
In an unusual move, the justices agreed to review a federal appeals court decision by their new chief justice, John G. Roberts, who with two other federal judges had earlier upheld the president's military commissions in Salim Hamdan vs. Donald Rumsfeld.
Roberts disqualified himself, and is expected to do the same when the court hears arguments in the case, probably in March.
Hamdan's lawyers claim the president exceeded his constitutional powers by authorizing his defense secretary to create the commissions in the first place, without congressional approval; they also claim that the commissions, as designed, violate the laws of war, because, they argue, the United States violated the Geneva Conventions by designating Hamdan an enemy combatant instead of classifying him as a prisoner of war.
And, of course, no Supreme Court decision can be rendered without the obligatory rat squealings from the left.
''The Supreme Court now has a second chance to make clear that the Bush administration policies in Guantánamo run afoul of the best of American values,'' said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ``What's on the line is nothing less than our national commitment to rule of law, and whether we are comfortable being a pariah in the eyes of the world community.''
The question should simply be is the action by the government constitutional or not. Forget all the emotionalism, rhetoric etc. let the US Constitution decide. That is the job of the court. However, what Ratso Romero really wants to be the deciding factor is not American jurisprudence or constitutional law but, the international sense of what is lawful. I guess the ACLU defines being right with popularity. If that's the case they should close up shop.
Info from The Miami Herald.
Crossposted to Stop the ACLU.