Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hard Rain Journal 6-29-06 LATE EDITION: US System of Government has NOT Flatlined, SCOTUS Rules for Constitution & Geneva, & Against Bush

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Hard Rain Journal 6-29-06 LATE EDITION: The US System of Government has NOT Flatlined, SCOTUS Rules for the US Constitution & the Geneva Accords, and Against Bush-Cheney

By Richard Power

As Jung taught, synchronicity is a humbling, mysterious, and powerful phenomena.

In this morning's Hard Rain post about Bush-Cheney threats against the New York Times in particular, and freedom of the press as a whole, I wrote:

How far from considering such legislation is the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate? How far from championing it are the likes of Brit Hume and Paula Zahn? How far from upholding it are the likes of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito? (We will all soon know the heart and mind of Justice Kennedy, because his conscience and common sense sorely tested.) Of course, the answer is "not far at all," indeed, they are already there.

Today, SCOTUS ruled for the US Constitution and the Geneva Accords, and against Bush-Cheney, and Justice Kennedy was the swing vote:

The Supreme Court today delivered a sweeping rebuke to the Bush administration, ruling that it exceeded its authority by creating tribunals for terror suspects that fell short of the legal protections that Congress has traditionally required in military courts. As a result, the court said in a 5-to-3 ruling, the tribunals violated both American military law and the military's obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Supreme Court Blocks Guantánamo Tribunals, New York Times, 6-29-06

It is an historic case, with profound significance, because of its unequivocal affirmation of the separation of powers:

It is not too early to mark the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as a landmark. Nor is it too early to wonder what shadow this monument will cast. Like some historical landmarks (the Vietnam War Memorial comes to mind), it may be that Hamdan’s long-term resonance will be far greater than its short-term impact. Consider first the long-term significance of the decision, and then its immediate political consequences....
This historic ruling is a victory not only for the US Constitution (i.e. the defining document of the national identity), but also for the Uniform Code of Military Justice (i.e., the honor of the US military), and for Geneva Accords (i.e., the rule of international law).
Hamdan & the Youngstown Framework, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, 6-29-09

The US system of government has not flatlined (yet), and that "there is still hope" (however fragile) as Arwen told Elrond in Lord of the Rings.

The ruling has serious implications in regard to several Bush-Cheney outrages, including torture and rendition of prisoners, and the warrantless surveillance and monitoring of US citizens.

It was a 5-3 vote. Justice Kennedy passed his first test of principle on the post-O'Connor court. (Roberts, involved in the crafting of the Bush-Cheney rationale, did not vote.)

Here are quotes from Justices John Paul Stevens and Arthur Kennnedy:

In a concurring opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the administration had failed to prove a "practical need" that would justify trying the detainees in courts that provided a lesser standard of justice without seeking authorization from Congress....
Justice Stevens declared flatly that "the military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedure violate" both the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs the American military's legal system, and Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.The majority opinion rejected the administration's claims that the tribunals were justified both by President Bush's inherent powers as commander in chief and by the resolution passed by Congress authorizing the use of force after the Sept. 11. There is nothing in the resolution's legislative history "even hinting" that such an expansion of the president's powers was considered, he wrote. Supreme Court Blocks Guantánamo Tribunals, New York Times, 6-29-06

Two more thoughts...

Will the Bush-Cheney regime continue to deny the International Red Cross access to those it asks to visit?

And Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is owed an apology...

Read U.S. Senate Floor Statement by Sen. Dick Durbin on Guantanamo Bay, 6-14-05 and remember the political heat he took for speaking truth to the abuse of power.

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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