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Judge backs Guantanamo challenge
January 31, 2005 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Judge backs Guantanamo challenge A US judge has ruled that special military tribunals being used to try hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are illegal.
posted by borq (32 comments total)

 
tell me something I didn't know 3 years ago.
posted by garfield at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2005


Those damned liberal activist judges.
posted by psmealey at 10:04 AM on January 31, 2005


Upholding justice and the rule of Law. What unmitigated gall.
posted by Freen at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2005


took her long enough.
posted by blendor at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2005


Boy, that's a shocker.

I'm shocked. Shocking.
posted by bshort at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2005


illegal and yet no one will be get in trouble

why cant i get in that situation?
posted by tsarfan at 11:18 AM on January 31, 2005


Amerika is a Christian nation; these people aren't Christian and they aren't technically in the United States, so why should they get any rights?

Anyway, the detainees don't even want fair trials: remember, they hate us for our freedoms!

Besides, kangaroo courts without legal protections for defendants are just, well just like fraternity pranks, or what cheerleaders do voluntarily six to eight times a year.

Oh, and remember, by denying them their rights, we're Exporting Democracy -- what, don't you think Brown People are capable of Democracy?
posted by orthogonality at 11:29 AM on January 31, 2005


I don't understand why they have rights though. I'm wondering where the rights of non-citizens come from. This is a question very much at issue in California... do illegal immigrants have the right to emergency medical care?
posted by ewkpates at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2005


This is one of those things I shouldn't need to be happy to hear, but I am.
posted by odinsdream at 11:35 AM on January 31, 2005


I don't understand why they have rights though. I'm wondering where the rights of non-citizens come from. This is a question very much at issue in California... do illegal immigrants have the right to emergency medical care?

Unfortunately, this kind of question ultimately devolves into a question of how public money should be spent, but on an ethical level, I'd say these rights are just basic human rights. If someone's bleeding in my driveway, I'll be providing them with emergency care regardless of which country they call home. I certainly wouldn't ask my neighbors to help pay for it.
posted by odinsdream at 11:43 AM on January 31, 2005


* more on topic, though, the right to a fair trial, the right to not be imprisoned unjustly, or without being accused of a crime... these should be clear human rights, not rights of citizenship. It's a distinctly different question than the one of how a state should pay for emergency medical services of non-residents.
posted by odinsdream at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2005


Well, I still don't understand.

Getting the state to provide you with services or to honor your rights largely depends on your commitment to the state. Your rights in the state of your citizenship aren't honored by other states. Your rights as a US citizen aren't honored in another country.

The philosophical reason for this is that "rights" are the result of a contract a citizen makes with a state.

It's great that someone would want to help a guy bleeding in his driveway. But what if it was 1 guy a week? Or what if it was a guy needing critical care and an ambulance ride? That can be pretty expensive...
posted by ewkpates at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2005


I'm wondering where the rights of non-citizens come from.

Same place the so-called "Right to Privacy" came from.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:10 PM on January 31, 2005


The Constitution has a number of rights that are explicitly granted to citizens, and others explicitly granted to all persons. So yes, non-citizens do have rights.
posted by jefgodesky at 12:12 PM on January 31, 2005


More importantly, this ruling gets us off the slippery slope leading to extra-legal black holes for "undesireables" of all sorts.
The U. S. wouldn't stand for one of its citizens to be locked up in another country without any hope of trial, or even release.
If we're going to hold ourselves up as the bastion of the rule of law and civility, we should walk the walk and talk the talk.
If those at Gitmo are actually guilty of something (and I ain't sayin' they ain't) let's put 'em on trial and punish them in accordance to our laws...it's not that hard.
posted by black8 at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2005


It's great that someone would want to help a guy bleeding in his driveway. But what if it was 1 guy a week? Or what if it was a guy needing critical care and an ambulance ride? That can be pretty expensive...

You're bringing cost back into the question, which I was trying to show as the entire problem. Just because some countries don't respect human rights doesn't do anything for your argument. The United States does, or should, respect human rights. Now, we're at the point of defining which rights are human rights, and which are just granted by federal, state, or local governments. (or a combination of both, I suppose)

In my humble opinion, everyone has the right to not be imprisoned without being accused of a crime. Everyone has a right to face their accusers, and everyone has a right to a fair trial. If we agree on that, "It's too expensive to give everyone a fair trial" shouldn't be an argument at all.

Similarly, to get back briefly to the already-useless bloody-visitor analogy: if you're bleeding in my driveway, you get my help. Yes, even if you're one of 50 bleeding in my driveway. You all get my help. No, I'm not going to ask my neighbors to help me, but they're free to on their own.
posted by odinsdream at 12:35 PM on January 31, 2005


I'm wondering where the rights of non-citizens come from.

Same place the so-called "Right to Privacy" came from.


Yup, he's right. They come from the Constitution of the United States. Check amendments 4, 6, and 8. 4 gives 'the people' a right to privacy, 6 and 8 ensure speedy trials, right to counsel, and prevent cruel and unusual punishment. Note that 6 and 8 don't say anything about citizens vs. non-citizens.
posted by jlub at 12:43 PM on January 31, 2005


Steve_at_Linnwood replies to ewkpates's post
I'm wondering where the rights of non-citizens come from.
Same place the so-called "Right to Privacy" came from.


Steve's absolutely right about this.

The genius of the U.S. Constitution is that it acknowledges fundamental rights are a the birthright of men (or a gift of from their Creator), so the Constitution doesn't even waste time presuming to grant to men rights we already possess.

Instead, the Constitution aims to safeguard those already existing individual rights, by limiting the rights of the government to encroach upon individuals' rights.

There is no need for the Constitution to give us a right to privacy, as we never gave up that right to government. Similarly the right to liberty is not granted by the Constitution, as this right was never given up; instead, the Constitution strictly delimits, in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments how careful the government must be to not trample on the liberty, and how it must exercise due process of the law before any person's liberty is abridged.

Because individual rights are inherent in men, no Constitution is required to grant them, and no citizenship required to exercise them -- these rights belong to all persons regardless of citizenship.

That the U.S. government recognizes these individual, inherent, and unalienable rights is what makes out form of government superior not only to dictatorships, but to mere democracies that pretend that sacred rights can be voted away at the ballot box; it is this recognition of unalienable rights that makes our system of government a light unto the world, a beacon of hope to all men everywhere.

It is by living these beliefs that we export democracy and, as importantly, liberty to the rest of the world. There is no better way to export our values than to show that we adhere to those vales even in adversity, that we even apply those values to enemies who hate us and would see us destroyed.

So, yes, Steve_at_Linnwood, I salute you for your astute understanding of what it means to be a free man and an American!

Like you, I shall labor to preserve liberty, the right of due process, and the right of privacy from the encroachment of well-meaning but fallible government, secure that those liberties are my birthright from a infallible Creator!
posted by orthogonality at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2005


This is a neat link outlining various nations' approach to the issue of non-citizens v/s citizens. Note that the U.S. description uses the word "construed" which disturbs me.

I'm trying to be a student of political philosophy and of the constitution at the same time. "All persons" is a tricky phrase. Almost as tricky as "construed". "Explicitly" appears to be vague, misleading, or inaccurate.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

"All persons" here appears to refer only to citizens.
posted by ewkpates at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2005


Sadly, you can say "natural rights" until you are blue in the page (ha!) but judges and politicians write the game plan here. Search and seizure is a far cry from anonymity.
posted by ewkpates at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2005


ewkpates, the section you cite defines what a citizen is; if it refers solely to citizens it is meaningless--all citizens are citizens. It defines what subset of people are citizens in the first sentence.

Meanwhile, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" obviously refers to all people, not citizens (though citizens are referred to explicitly before that). Otherwise, the U.S. could bust into the Tony Blair's home and take his silverware, right?
posted by jefgodesky at 1:06 PM on January 31, 2005


orthogonality: that was awesome.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

"All persons" here appears to refer only to citizens.


That's ridiculous. Let me show you why:

"All brown-footed aliens born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..."

"All brown-footed aliens" here appears to refer only to citizens.

... clearly not. It's taking a very inclusive term, something generic, like "humanity," and refining it with the restrictions of being born in the U.S., and being subject to the jurisdiction thereof.
posted by odinsdream at 1:09 PM on January 31, 2005


All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I'm probably talking out of my ass here, but it seems that this excerpt is dealing with two issues. First it defines what a citizen is (in the first sentence). Then it says what the States cannot do to citizens, but then increase the scope (after nor shall any State....) to include "any person". My understanding is that the use of the phrase "any persons" instead of "citizens" has been interpreted to mean that the Writers intentionally wanted the protections to life, liberty, etc. to include the larger class. With regard to citizens, the States cannot deny them the privileges or immunities of citizenship, which is a subset of the protections to life, liberty, etc.
posted by MikeKD at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2005


All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside

...

"All persons" here appears to refer only to citizens.


Here's reason 234B why that's wrong:

If that were right, you'd parse that as "Citizens of the United States born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..."

So you're arguing that it says that citizens are citizens, but only citizens who are born in the US or naturalized are citizens -- all those other citizens who were neither born in the US nor naturalized aren't citizens in some way except that they are also and at the same time, citizens.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2005


(thank you, orthogonality, for writing what I would have if I weren't intent on actually getting some work done today.)
posted by hattifattener at 3:28 PM on January 31, 2005


This orthogonality, where did he come from, and where does he get off making so much sense?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:06 PM on January 31, 2005


Clearly the dynamic has changed. That's sucks for alleged terrorists who may have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Aside from some discomfort while travelling (airport security) it hasn't effected my life as a citizen.

However, there was really no reason to change the legal system as it existed. With the exception of the "OJ" case and a handful of other cases, the system works pretty damn well. Especially when compared to justice systems around the world.
posted by snsranch at 4:15 PM on January 31, 2005


What scares me:

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the ruling effectively challenges the Bush administration's assertion that it has the right to detain indefinitely anyone it defines as a terrorist suspect.
But after a series of conflicting legal judgments, he says higher courts may have to make a final decision.


The Supreme Court doesn't seem to me like they would fall on the side of Judge Joyce Hens Green good judge with its current make up:

Only two weeks ago, Judge Richard Leon dismissed a lawsuit filed by seven detainees. He backed the view that foreign nationals captured and detained outside the US had no recognisable constitutional rights.
He said it was up to the US Congress, not the courts, to decide the conditions of imprisonment.


Judge Richard Leon bad judge doesn't consider Gitmo to be US soil and would leave it up to congress...with the expected depressing results. I don't see liberty or sanity prevailing in this case since we haven't seen any in the last 4 years anyway...
posted by gren at 6:29 PM on January 31, 2005


Leaving aside the constitutional parsing, I just don't see a compelling argument why fighters taken from foreign battlefields need to be transported to this weird camp on an Island. Can't they just be interrogated and either used in espionage or whatever, or interrogated and released, or interrogated and put on trial for crimes? Do they really need to be flown halfway around the world to a specially constructed camp and turned into animals?

This is what makes the whole thing scary to me-- it seems that Guantanamo camp is really more designed as a training program for future wars, or an experiment in a new type of "justice", rather then something useful to use against fighters captured during the Afghanistan war.
posted by cell divide at 7:47 PM on January 31, 2005


cell divide:

exactly. Using gov't lawyers to test the limits of the constitution is utterly disgusting.
posted by gren at 4:09 AM on February 1, 2005


Hear, hear, orthogonality, that is excellent writing. I want to frame your comment and hang it on my wall (minus the bit directed to S@L).
posted by breath at 11:11 AM on February 1, 2005


orthogonality, you'll destroy Stevie's self-confidence that way
posted by matteo at 4:31 PM on February 1, 2005


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