[Marxism] The presidential election and the Supreme Court

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 29 10:49:14 MDT 2004

Suresh wrote:
> Yet, the Supreme Court did not rule on the most
> essential question; whether the indefinite detention
> of 'enemy combatants', including U.S. citizens, under
> the sole discretion of the executive branch is
> constitutional or not. It ducked this issue, just as
> it had dodged the case challenging the use of the
> words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance - on a
> technical basis.

It appears that I jumped the gun on this. Here's something from the 
current Counterpunch:

June 29, 2004

Hamdi, Padilla and Rasul v. Rumsfeld and Bush
Who Really Won?

Forget what the media's talking heads have told you about these three 
Supreme Court decisions that tested the power of George W. Bush. The 
President won far more than he lost, so administration "officials" who 
pronounce themselves victors are more on target than the press who tell 
you that the decisions represent a defeat for the Administration, or 
rein in its power. Taken together, the decisions are more important for 
what they did not do. Their significance for the future, particularly if 
Bush is reelected, cannot be underestimated.

Rumsfeld v. Padilla

To begin with, the Court dodged the most important case-the case of Jose 
Padilla. Padilla, recently vilified by a highly-placed Department of 
Justice attorney, is the American citizen arrested on a material witness 
warrant in Chicago two years ago. The government's story then was that 
he was planning to detonate a dirty bomb. Attorney General John Ashcroft 
held a press conference and announced the incarceration of Padilla and 
told us what a dangerous man he was. Of course, if they had evidence 
that he was planning to detonate a dirty bomb, they would have charged 
him with a host of crimes, and tried him. But they never charged him 
with anything. What does that tell you? A couple of weeks ago, Ashcroft 
sent out one of his top deputies to change the story on Padilla. That 
story may have influenced the Court's decision, though we will never 
know this. Though the official denied that the press conference-at which 
he announced that Padilla had "confessed" to plotting to blow up 
high-rise apartment buildings-may have been held when it was to 
punctuate the government's belief that Padilla was a very, very 
dangerous man. So if he is so dangerous, why is he not being charged. 
Of, you have to love this reason: because the government denied him his 
rights and repeatedly interrogated him without an attorney (and, maybe 
even tortured him, for all we know) his confession is no good! Can't be 
used in court. So since we denied him his rights, we cannot try him, but 
we can hold him without charging him forever. Because we say he is 

And what did the Supreme Court have to say about that? In a 5-4 
decision, it said...nothing. It ruled that Padilla's court' appointed 
attorney, Donna Newman, filed the petition for writ of habeas corpus 
(challenging the detention of her client without charge, without access 
to her) in the wrong federal court. She sued Rumsfeld, on whose order 
Padilla was named an "enemy combatant" in the Southern District of New 
York, where he was brought and incarcerated and where she was appointed. 
But after she got into the case, and without notice to her, the 
government moved him to a brig in South Carolina. So the government 
argued that the warden of the brig is the party to be sued, not 
Rumsfeld. As if that warden does not answer to Rumsfeld, at least if she 
is holding an enemy combatant-so-called. So with Rehnquist writing for 
the majority, the court threw out his petition. Altogether. Padilla has 
to start all over again, suing the warden wherever he or she is. Ah, but 
keep in mind, that once his attorneys file a another petition, the 
government just has to move him again. And again. And again. To avoid 
answering for his detention.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/


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