The Talking Dog

February 28, 2009, Baby steps

While it hasn't exactly been a steady and forward march to restoration of the Constitution by the nascent Obama Administration, when it does something of note worthy of our praise, it will receive it. Today was such a day when the Obama Administration made the decision to transfer Saleh Al-Marri out of military custody and into the civilian justice system. (Al Marri's wiki is here, for background). A similar decision was made with respect to former "dirty-bomb" suspect Jose Padilla on the eve of papers due in his Supreme Court case... pretty much the exact same scenario as with Al-Marri, and, as one of Al-Marri's attorneys Jonathan Hafetz told us when we interiewed him, this is because Al-Marri's case presents the same Padilla issues of a government asserting the right to trash the entire bill of rights when it suits it as long as it magically invokes the word "terrrrrrorism":

The Talking Dog: Is it not the case that this is a still-live case presenting virtually the identical issue as Padilla (which the Supreme Court just ducked)?

Jonathan Hafetz: Certainly, the issue is very much live, and presents a danger to us all insofar as the government is asserting the right to strip any one of us of all due process rights and constitutional protections. So yes, that is definitely still the case– Al-Marri’s immigration status as opposed to citizenship doesn’t change that.

While I would certainly like the loathsome abomination of a decision out of the Fourth Circuit Kangaroo Court of Appeals vacated, the Supreme Court (and the Obama Administration) may prefer, as occurred with Padilla, to avoid the question, thereby permitting the future precedent of any President (maybe even this one) picking up anyone he likes, citizen or alien alike, stateside or abroad alike, and throwing said person in a dungeon, potentially forever, period (as long as the holy words "national security" and "terrrrrrorism" are uttered.)

Well, we'll take what we can get, and the decision to afford Al-Marri a civilian trial is, at least, something.