Monday, May 17, 2010

The Constitution Was Written For Child Molesters Too.

May 17, 2010 the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that is was constitutional to hold inmates beyond the time ordered by the trial process. Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas were the sole opposing Justices. Two of the most conservative people ever on the court were the only ones to stand for justice and process of law against tyranny. In a single stroke they invalidated the 14th amendment which guarantees due process and equal treatment under the law. The 14th amendment has been the touchtone of civil liberties and it has not be tossed into the junk pile of hysterical overreaction which led to the Patriot Act and US citizens being targeted for death by the CIA.

Basically you can be charged with a crime – held and put to trial, receive a sentence and serve that sentence and still be held at the whim of authority. Today it is being applied only to people convicted of a vile act. But it is the beginning of the end when we allow Constitutional and civil rights to be tossed aside by anger or revulsion. Even in some of the darkest days of the West people have depended on the rule of law. Joan of Arc was charged with treason, heresy and witchcraft yet even she had the slim hope of a trial. Rapist, mass murderers and even cannibals have been set before a court and lived and died by that judgment. The Nazis were held before the Nuremberg court and bound by their resolution. No one hauled Carl Donitz back into jail after his sentence was served even though his wolf packs sank hospital ships and civilian liners.

The court in fact ignored any arguments regarding the 14th amendment and focused on the power of government to punish crime and maintain security. Security is always the watchword when freedom is being destroyed. If the citizens lose the right to equal application of law then we have no hope of fending off further assaults against our liberties. Benjamin Franklin stated: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I cannot think of a single act more dangerous in a time when the Federal government is continuing a slide towards martial governance. With restraints on Executive power declared meaningless by John Yoo – a middle level department of Justice Attorney and then rushed into concrete acts of secrecy and violation of treaty and congressional rights by Dick Cheney and the George Bush White House but kept in place by the Obama administration. With an Attorney General that declared the Geneva Convention “quaint” and stated that the constitution does not cover the writ of habeas corpus. With Department of Justice attorneys called “terrorists” because they dared to extend legal protection to detainees. All of this is occurring in an America whipped into frenzies of paranoia and despair. Now to have the Supreme Court striking down major principles of the Constitution stretching back all the way to the founding of English Common law is an unmitigated disaster for freedom in the United States.

I could discuss the particulars of the crimes and acts invoked in the ruling. But they are irrelevant. If we were discussing sentencing or even evidence they may be pertinent. But that is not the issue at stake here. It is the rule of law. If you are held before a jury of your peers and convicted under civil law are you or are you not in a contract that binds both ways. If authority can constantly reach out and constrain you beyond the actions called for in a court of law then we are lost as a free people. This is precisely the mechanism used by the USSR to enprison Aleksandr Solzenitzen and millions of other "disturbed" people in the gulags of Siberia. No matter how low or loathsome the citizen being so treated the constitution must apply to the few or it is lost to us all.

I feel we go to sleep tonight in an America that is fundamentally coarsened and weakened and awake tomorrow in a world where people like Adams and Jefferson would have been silenced long before they ever wrote a word in Philadelphia. Actually that is such a pale and impotent analogy to make before such a disaster. The rule of law is the loss before us and it clears the descent to a naked despotism that George III never dreamed of.

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