< HOME  Sunday, July 02, 2006

Implications of Hamdan vs Rumsfeld

"This isn't a challenge to some decision that a court makes. This is a challenge to the court itself."
-- Prof. Neal Katyal, in front of the US Supreme Court.
A law professor of Indian Punjabi origin and bin Laden's Yemeni driver defeated the US Solicitor-General and US Secretary of Defence -- respectively -- in front of the judges of the US Supreme Court. Some sense has prevailed in the US, and the doublespeak of the Bush administration has come to a reckoning. And finally, we see a glimpse of what made Western civilization great: the rule of law.

I have read the oral arguments and the decision in detail and the three dissenting judges merely reinforced their ties to the administration, and in dissent confirmed the ruling! In other words, had they known that there would not be a majority opinion, they might have changed their stance, for no judge wants to go down in history as advocating lawlessness.

Since Chief Justice Roberts was involved in the Appeals Court decision, he recused himself, but is chastened, no doubt about it.

Now, let us look at the implications:
  1. All US secret prisons are rendered illegal.
  2. US cannot try bin Laden or Zawahiri in front of military tribunals in case they are detained. This is probably why no effort was made to detain Zarqawi alive.
  3. The Bush administration, army officers and CIA officers are liable to be guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Convention(s).
Katyal was eloquent when asked why the conspiracy (idiotic charge of war crimes) charge could not be changed later :
“And the -- Justice Alito, the Government has had, essentially, now 4 years to get their charges together on Mr. Hamdan. At this point, that -- you know, what you have before you is the charge. And that -- and they've stuck with this charge, of conspiracy, which is not a violation of the laws of war. And, indeed, the -- and the -- it's not just conspiracy isn't, but that the commission is operating in totally uncharted waters, because it's charging a violation in a stateless, territoryless conflict, something as to which the full laws of war have never applied. Indeed, Justice Alito, all 10 people facing military commissions today, all 10 indictments charge conspiracy right now. Seven only charge conspiracy.”
And let us not forget Lt. Cdr. Swift, a person of character who has put his career in jeopardy - but steadfastly turned a regular plea-bargain assignment into a saving of the Western civilization. He is a true hero, and one day his contribution will be duly praised.

Katyal wakes up the sleepy Cheney friend who embarrassed himself in Switzerland a few days ago:
JUSTICE SCALIA: What is the use of them if they have to follow all of the procedures required by the UCMJ? I mean, I thought that the whole object was to have a different procedure.

MR. KATYAL: Justice Scalia, that's what the Government would like you to believe. I don't think that's true. . .
Katyal, under 40, and an Indian-American of Punjabi origin, was to be the voice of reason. A semi-literate Yemeni driver, Hamdan thanked God and thanked the Courts. So should the entire Western civilization. Personally, I have never been prouder to be a Muslim and of Punjabi origin living in the West.


At Sunday, July 02, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

Another exchange:

MR. KATYAL: So long as it is, (a) independent of the executive, which is what it's been interpreted to be, and, (b) affords the rights known to civilized peoples. And here, we think this military commission strays from both of those -- both of those. It's not independent of the executive --
JUSTICE GINSBURG: You've mentioned -- you've mentioned that the defendant has no right to appear before the tribunal. What are the other rights recognized by all civilized people that these tribunals do not guarantee?
MR. KATYAL: So far, Justice Ginsburg, all that we have before -- you know, I think all that's happened is the right to be present. To look to what other rights are guaranteed by Common Article 3, you can look to Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, which specifies rights like appeal rights and the like. But they're the most minimal baseline rights. We're not talking about, you know, Miranda rights or something like that. We're talking about just a set of core ideas that every country on the world -- every country in the world is supposed to dispense when they create war-crimes trials. And, even that minimal standard, the Government says they don't want to apply here.


At Sunday, July 02, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Great stuff, Akber! Thanks!

Apparently, Bush only recognizes Supreme Court decisions that he likes, namely the one to appoint him.

At Sunday, July 02, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

"He (Katyal) has put in nearly 2,000 pro bono hours working on the case and thousands of dollars of his own money."

Now that the idiocy has been breached, and it may not be criminal to help justice any more, why don't we start a fund for legal rights. Claims by Iraqis can bring the administration to its knees in a matter of weeks. Wanna do it?


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