Thank You, Supreme Court, for Telling Us to Stop Doing That
Here's the NYT's lead story re: their rejection of Bush's plan to try detainees. The story was written by Linda Greenhouse, who has written on the Court for the NYT for decades. She allows herself a slightly personal take on her morning yesterday, in typical dispassionate reporter fashion:
The courtroom was, surprisingly, not full, but among those in attendance there was no doubt they were witnessing a historic event, a defining moment in the ever-shifting balance of power among branches of government that ranked with the court's order to President Richard M. Nixon in 1974 to turn over the Watergate tapes, or with the court's rejection of President Harry S. Truman's seizing of the nation's steel mills, a 1952 landmark decision from which Justice Anthony M. Kennedy quoted at length.
This was a big day for her. I love the way great reporters can get that across-- gravity and breathlessness- w/o being cloying.
The crushingness, the part that made me cry, was this:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. did not take part in the case. Last July, four days before Mr. Bush nominated him to the Supreme Court, he was one of the members of a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court here that ruled for the administration in the case.
In the courtroom on Thursday, the chief justice sat silently in his center chair as Justice Stevens, sitting to his immediate right as the senior associate justice, read from the majority opinion. It made for a striking tableau on the final day of the first term of the Roberts court: the young chief justice, observing his work of just a year earlier taken apart point by point by the tenacious 86-year-old Justice Stevens, winner of a Bronze Star for his service as a Navy officer in World War II.
United States citizens, on behalf of the Executive Branch, have detained, tortured and killed thousands of humans over the last couple of years. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.
But yesterday five people in a courtroom at the seat of our government, ruling on a case brought by someone who, by most accounts, is a piece of shit friend of Osama Bin Laden, and who is represented by a Navy lawyer, said to all of us, "Stop doing that. You have no right to do that".
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, Mr. Hamdan's Navy lawyer, told The Associated Press that he had informed his client about the ruling by telephone. "I think he was awe-struck that the court would rule for him, and give a little man like him an equal chance," Commander Swift said. "Where he's from, that is not true."
God bless us all.