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Bush Shredding Constitution

The Bush administration’s lawyers are currently arguing before the Supreme Court their right to seize and detain any American citizen they see as a threat to the United States. President Bush’s lawyers are claiming that he has the right to authorize “indefinite executive detention” without oversight by Congress or the Judiciary.

President Bush is using the "War on Terror" to undermine the checks and balances in the US Constitution that prevent this country from becoming a dictatorship. He is attempting to bypass the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment right of habeas corpus, and the Fourth Amendment right prohibiting the unreasonable search and seizure of American citizens.

But President Bush is not just asking for the right to arrest a citizen. If he wins this case, he'll have the legal authority to snatch people secretly in the middle of the night and make them disappear. It's the kind of thing for which they hold remembrance days in South America.

Just FYI for all you Bushies, unless you want to change President Bush's title to President For Life, a Democrat will inherit this power. My first letter to President Kerry will ask him to make conservative pundit Bob Novak disappear for his role in leaking the name of a CIA agent during war-time. Since the agent was working on stopping the proliferation of WMDs, it should be easy to link him with terrorism.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor asked [the administration's attorney] Mr. Clement why "a neutral decision maker of some kind" could not be provided to determine whether a detainee is being properly held. "Is that so extreme that it should not be required?" she asked.

Mr. Clement said the potential detainees' initial screening [by US military forces under the command of the President], sorting those to be held from those who need not be, met that requirement. "For all intents and purposes, that is a neutral decision maker," he said.

As justification for the extraordinary powers the President is trying to exert, his lawyers are citing a resolution passed by Congress a week after the 9/11 attacks authorizing the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against organizations or "persons" involved in terrorism.

Mr. Dunham [the attorney defending the Constitution] said if the resolution was interpreted to authorize "indefinite executive detention" at the president's discretion, "we could have people locked up all over the country tomorrow without any due process, without any opportunity to be heard." He added, "There is no indication that Congress intended any such thing."

Ms. Martinez [working with Mr. Dunham] said authorizations to use force in wartime, even broadly written, have not "traditionally been interpreted to allow the executive unlimited power over citizens."

Justice Stephen G. Breyer asked the administration's lawyer why military detention was "necessary and appropriate in a country that has its courts open, that has regular criminal proceedings, that has all the possibility of adjudicating a claim that 'I'm the wrong person.'" He added, "Why is it a 'necessary and appropriate' thing to do once you have such a person who is a citizen in this country to proceed by other than a normal court procedure?"

The President's lawyer replied, "where the government is on a war footing, you have to trust the executive to make the kind of quintessential military judgments that are involved in things like that."

In other words, don't ask questions. Just trust President Bush.

Posted by American Pundit at April 30, 2004 4:46 AM