[Marxism] As Guantanamo case nears court hearing, Scalia tells detention critics to fuck off

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Mar 27 03:19:20 MST 2006

I think its high time for another Cheney-Scalia hunting trip.  Have you
ever noticed how much, from a certain angle, Scalia looks like a duck.
Fred Feldman

Supreme Court: Detainees' Rights—Scalia Speaks His Mind 


April 3, 2006 issue - The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in
a big case: whether to allow the Bush administration to try Guantánamo
detainees in special military tribunals with limited rights for the
accused. But Justice Antonin Scalia has already spoken his mind about
some of the issues in the matter. During an unpublicized March 8 talk at
the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea
that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or
international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the
"hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has
never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give
them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk
reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break." Challenged by one audience
member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under
the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: "If he was
captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a
son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not
about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I
mean it's crazy." Scalia was apparently referring to his son Matthew,
who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Scalia did say, though, that he
was concerned "there may be no end to this war."

The comments provoked "quite an uproar," said Samantha Besson, a member
of the Freiburg law faculty who had invited Scalia to give his talk,
which was mostly about his "originalist" interpretation of the
Constitution. This isn't the first time Scalia has commented on matters
before the court: two years ago he recused himself from a Pledge of
Allegiance case after making public comments about the matter. "This is
clearly grounds for recusal," said Michael Ratner of the Center for
Constitutional Rights, a human-rights group that has filed a brief in
behalf of the Gitmo detainees. "I can't recall an instance where I've
heard a judge speak so openly about a case that's in front of
him—without hearing the arguments." Other experts said it was a closer
call. Scalia didn't refer directly to this week's case, Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld, though issues at stake hinge in part on whether the detainees
deserve legal protections that make the military tribunals unfair. "As
these things mount, a legitimate question could be asked about whether
he is compromising the credibility of the court," said Stephen Gillers,
a legal-ethics expert. A Scalia recusal (it's entirely up to him) would
create problems; Chief Justice John Roberts has already done so in
Hamdan because he ruled on it as an appellate judge. A Supreme
Courtspokeswoman said Scalia has no comment. 

—Michael Isikoff

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