[Marxism] US Supreme Court again rejects the Elian case

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 23 18:25:24 MST 2004

This is a more detailed discussion of some of the politics that
lay behind the US Supreme Court's decision yet again to not
take up the lawsuit by the rightists from Miami who had claimed
their "democratic rights" were violated when the Immigration
and Nationalization Service (INS)rescued the child from their
clutches. I've also prepared a new webpage related to this.

It's been FOUR YEARS since Elian was rescued from the kidnappers 
in Miami, but they won't leave this case alone. They're still 
dreaming of re-kidnapping him, if only through their using the 
US court system to publicize and fund-raise for their demands.
And, indeed, it tell you something about the US court system
that it would even hear such a case which has been rejected by
this very same court system several times previously.

When you consider also the rightist composition of the Supreme
Court, its role in the selection of the current occupant of the
White House and other things, it could be of real significance
that they decided that revisiting Elian is too hot to handle,
even for THEM. Also keep in mind that the rescue of Elian and
the subsequent decision of the US Supreme Court not to hear 
the first appeal by the "Miami relatives".

Keep further in mind that the rescue and repatriation were
perhaps the greatest defeat which the exiled rightists have
suffered in over forty years, that is, since their defeat by
the Cuban forces at the Bay of Pigs/Playa Giron. It was via
this struggle, which few thought could be won when it began,
that a broad public in the United States began to get a real
idea of what kinds of people these exiled rightists really
were, and are. These are people who bray on about "family
values", but who would steal someone's child if they could
make a political point in their anti-Cuba crusade by doing so.

They rioted in the streets of Miami, they burned the flag of
the United States. In every way they demonstrated both their
contempt for and their alienation from the United States as
their sole and only real issue is their demented dreams of 
going back to the country from which they fled so long ago.

Here's the position which Fidel Castro took on behalf of the
Cuban government on the very day the rescue of Elian Gonzalez
took place, April 22, 2000. It's short and well worth your
time to look back and reflect again on Cuba's clear message:

Walter Lippmann, Moderator, CubaNews list

By Michael Kirkland
UPI Legal Affairs Correspondent
Published 3/22/2004 12:46 PM

WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court of the
United States Monday rejected a case brought by the Miami
supporters of Elian Gonzalez, who said their rights were
violated by the government raid that took the boy from

The high court rejection ended a case that once gripped the
nation. It was only the latest case -- but possibly the
last -- involving the boy, who was taken from Cuba by his
mother, who died in the crossing to the United States.

It was also the latest demonstration of the "qualified
immunity" rule: Federal courts will not let public
officials be sued for their official acts as long as those
acts are reasonable and lawful.

Six-year-old Elian was found adrift off Fort Lauderdale,
Fla., on Nov. 25, 1999. Three days earlier, the boy, his
mother, his purported stepfather and eight other people
fled Cuba in a small makeshift boat.

The boat capsized and most of those aboard drowned,
including Elian's mother and his purported stepfather.

Elian reportedly was found clinging to an inner tube by a
fisherman, Donato Dalrymple. The U.S. Coast Guard took the
boy to Miami, where, after a stint at a hospital, he was
paroled by the Immigration and Naturalization Service into
the home of his relative, Lazaro Gonzalez. Lazaro Gonzalez
filed a political asylum request on Elian's behalf.

However, the boy's father was in Cuba and wanted him back.
Skeptical Justice Department officials at first refused but
became convinced of the father's relationship with Elian
after seeing films and other evidence that the boy had
spent considerable time with his father and other paternal
family members in Cuba.

The INS rejected the asylum petition, and the Clinton
administration arranged for Elian's father to come to the
United States to take custody.

Lazaro Gonzalez and other Miami relatives refused to give
the boy up, despite losing in every court they filed for
protection. Night after night, network news shows depicted
Elian playing in his relatives' yard or hanging on to his
adult cousin Marisleysis.

The dispute divided the country. Those opposed to any
accommodation with Fidel Castro's Cuba -- most of the Cuban
exiles in the Miami area -- were adamant in their
opposition to returning the boy to a communist country.
Those who supported the claims of the boy's father were
just as determined that the family should be reunited.

Even the presidential candidates took sides. Vice President
Al Gore, with his eye on Florida's electoral votes, broke
with the White House and called for Elian to remain in the
United States. Texas Gov. George W. Bush also supported
Miami exiles trying to keep Elian from returning home.

However, at the time, the Justice Department said it was
compelled by U.S. law to return the child to his
acknowledged father, and said any other action could hurt
U.S. efforts to recover other children kidnapped from a
U.S. custodial parent and taken overseas by a non-custodial

When negotiations between Lazaro and the government for a
hand-over broke down, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a
raid that took place at 5 a.m. on Holy Saturday, April 22,
2000. Heavily armed agents burst into the Lazaro Gonzalez
home and took Elian by force to return him to his father.

The Lazaro Gonzalez family filed suit against Reno and
other officials, charging excessive force, but the federal
courts ruled that the defendants had immunity while
lawfully performing their duties.

Fifty-one protesters, neighbors and passersby, including
Dalrymple, also filed suit against Reno and others,
claiming they "were sprayed with gas, shoved, kicked and
threatened at gunpoint by federal agents during the raid to
seize Elian from the Gonzalez's home."

The group claimed that their First Amendment right to free
expression and assembly, and their Fourth Amendment right
to "be secure ... against unreasonable searches and
seizures" were violated.

Eventually, a federal appeals court ruled that Reno and the
others had immunity, and the Miami group asked the Supreme
Court for review.

The group's case was filed by Judicial Watch, a
conservative public interest legal group in Washington. In
a petition to the Supreme Court, Judicial Watch argued that
plaintiffs alleging civil rights violations against
defendants claiming qualified immunity should not be held
to a heightened standard of pleading, as the appeals court

But the Supreme Court rejected the case in a one-line
order, letting the appeals court ruling stand and
effectively closing a chapter on one of the most
contentious disputes to divide the U.S. public in the last


(No. 03-841, Dalrymple et al vs. Reno et al.)

Copyright C 2001-2004 United Press International



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