Monday, June 11, 2007

That's really gotta hurt...

It was a bitch-slapping. There is no other accurate descriptive. The conservative Fourth Circuit cut down the idea of perpetual detention and enemy combatants and had some stinging words to say about it, too.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote, “even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”

“We refuse to recognize a claim to power,” Judge Motz added, “that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

The ruling was handed down by a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., in the case of Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar and the only person on the American mainland known to be held as an enemy combatant.

Mr. Marri, whom the government calls a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda, was arrested on Dec. 12, 2001, in Peoria, Ill., where he was living with his family and studying computer science at Bradley University.

He has been held for the last four years at the Navy Brig in Charleston, S.C.

Judge Motz wrote that Mr. Marri may well be guilty of serious crimes. But she said that the government cannot circumvent the civilian criminal justice system through military detention.

The Fourth Circuit is extremely conservative. And now the question on my mind is: Will the Bush administration press the Supremes for a definitive ruling, or will they try to forestall and run out the clock? Inquiring minds want to know (and the suspense is killing me!)

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