At the convention, Sarah Palin quipped:
"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and [Obama]'s worried that someone won't read them their rights."
This is the road to despotism. This is the fevered dream of theocracy. This is America.
Initially I thought Palin just hadn't been paying attention [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and didn't know what she was saying. But as her comment continues to reverberate, her intention becomes increasingly clear: this was not just an offhand or ignorant remark, but rather a big Fuck You to the Supreme Court and its decisions over the last four years. And in this she stands in league with McCain [and Yoo and Addington et al], echoing his disdain for the foundation of democracy.
Anthony Lewis writes:
Three times in the last four years the Supreme Court has rejected the Bush administration's legal defenses of its program for detention of alleged "enemy combatants."
Each of these decisions brought an outcry from the political right. Senator John McCain, a survivor of torture as a prisoner in North Vietnam who was once a critic of the Bush detention practices, called Boumediene "one of the worst decisions in the history of the country."
Opening the federal courts to habeas corpus applications from the detainees hardly promises them a swift ticket to freedom. But it marks at least a first step toward accountability—a forum where the treatment of a detainee and the asserted reasons for his imprisonment can be examined. As George Will wrote in a column blasting Senator McCain for the ignorance of his comments on habeas corpus, "the Supreme Court's ruling only begins marking a boundary against government's otherwise boundless power to detain people indefinitely."
A striking example of the importance of having courts check official decisions that someone is an "enemy combatant" is the case of Huzaifa Parhat, one of a number of Uighur Muslims from China who are in Guantánamo. Parhat, who the US military claimed was at a Uighur training camp in Afghanistan in 2001, was captured in Pakistan in the fall of 2001. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in June that there was no persuasive evidence to support the government's labeling of him as an enemy combatant. The panel included the court's chief judge, David Sentelle, one of the most conservative federal judges in the country. Its opinion ridiculed the government argument, comparing it to the statement of a Lewis Carroll character: "I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true."
Official American Sadism