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The Courts Government United States Politics News

US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus 1151

spiedrazer writes "In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for the Bush Administration's many questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue before a Congressional committee that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens. In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. The Attorney General was being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18. THe MSM are not covering this story but Colbert is (click on the fourth video down, 'Exact Words')." From the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel commentary: "While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded."
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US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus

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  • by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:40PM (#17731740) Journal
    Because, those who suggest that are imprisoned and executed for treason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:42PM (#17731758)
    Perhaps that isn't such a good idea. Remember you're dealing with a politician; it might be worth be worth spelling it out in words of one syllable.
  • A$$Fucker. (Score:2, Funny)

    by bADlOGIN ( 133391 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:43PM (#17731774) Homepage
    Yeah. I'll burn the Karma.

  • by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:46PM (#17731812)
    You can't say they haven't tried [wikipedia.org]


    Oh, wait. Georgia the country. Curse my American geography education!
  • Wha? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:49PM (#17731842)
    We tried to impeach a president for questionable moral and sexual acts in the oval office. Yet we do nothing with this kind of crap going on?

    The world is quickly becoming a place I dont want to bring a child into.

    Then again, im posting on slashdot. I dout i'll get the chance. ;)
  • My dream (Score:5, Funny)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:49PM (#17731846)
    I'm standing over Mr. Gonzales with a stick in one hand and a copy of the Constitution in the other. And I look at the document and say "Nothing in here says not to whack you, Al."


    Then I look at the Constitution again. And I say "Nothing in here says not to whack you again, Al."


    This repeats until I wake up.
  • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:16PM (#17732092)
    Fairly sure that noone's going to knock on your door tomorrow. 'cept maybe some Jehovah's witnesses.
    Very few /. people have gotten sent off to Gitmo for talking about hypothetical coups.

    Anyway, IANAA(I Am Not An American) but my best guess is that the people who'd organize such a rebellion(generals and such) really aren't getting shafted as badly as you feel you are. They apparently don't feel the noose tightening around their necks, and it probably isn't. Plus even a military coup requires some support from the General Public to be successful. The US citizenry has a boatload of guns, and a fair number of those gun owners really like Bush. It might be sad but based off of my interactions with some of them, and watching your TV it's true.
    If They kill off/imprison/whatever Dubya and all the rest of the morons in Washington they're going to worry alot of people that they're losing freedoms. Ignorant though they may generally be, people would probably notice if the government changed hands so drastically down there. They're not noticing these sorts of statements by Gonzales effecting any meaningful changes in the way they live their lives. Now if Gonzales successfully removed the right to eat McDonalds and watch "wrassling" then you might be more likely to see a few hundred thousand nutjobs with a rifle go out for some blood. That sort of shit would be too much :P
  • by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:19PM (#17732122) Homepage
    I'll pause for a moment and admit that yes, I'm an evangelical Christian, so here is how I view the statement:

    In short, I don't agree with Gonzales' assessment because, from what I understand the constitution is a legal and historical document that is predicated upon the earlier work of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration contains the famous central truth statement:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    This central truth statement does a number of things but here are a few bullet points:
    1. Individual people and their governments are both under the authority of the Creator.

    2. This creator has endowed people with "certain unalienable Rights", the use of the word certain is curious because it bolsters the central truth statement (i.e. "I'm certain that this is true") and it limits the number of rights (i.e. "I get paid on a certain day"). The latter is necessary so that we have rule of law, and not rule of might, or money, or power, or intelligence, or whatever is popular at the time.

    3. Being unalienable, it is impossible for these rights to be transferred to another either willingly or unwillingly.

    4. The undertone to the sentence is confidently foreboding that "if you attempt to take away these rights you are not messing with just men, but with God".

    I'm curious what everyone else's take is on these events.

  • by Arceliar ( 895609 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:24PM (#17732184)
    I for one firmly believe one should err on the side of...good? freedom? I don't know what to call it. But to suggest somebody lacks a right because it is described in negative terms is...well, evil. Look at the intent of the words, not every little technicality. It's like when people try to point out that "may" and "will" or "can" are not the same when in reference to a translated work. It's technically true, but...seriously!
    One of the first things this government did for its people was guarantee the rights to "life, liberty, and the right to own property" I believe it was phrased. By being so technical on the language, one could all but negate the liberty part if given enough time to search for loopholes. Nobody's rights should be denied because someone didn't foresee a minor technicality of language. That's like saying Shakespeare's work isn't beautiful because it's not written in perfect American English.
    The fact that anyone even suggests this makes me ashamed to be called an American, or even a human being.
  • by XLawyer ( 68496 ) * on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:30PM (#17732248) Homepage

    Well, the Bill of Rights can similarly be read not to create the rights to freedom of speech, as it says only that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."

    There were in fact debates among the founding fathers about what sorts of protections should be explicit in the Constitution and (if one were even necessary) the Bill of Rights. For example, section 9 of Article I forbids Congress to pass an ex post Facto law. Why, some argued, was this even necessary? Didn't everyone know that the government just couldn't do things like passing ex post Facto laws?

    The founding generation believed in natural, inalienable rights. They likely didn't see their Constitution as creating or bestowing rights, as they likely believed that the rights weren't within their power to create or bestow. Rather, the Constitution protected rights that logically, morally, and temporally preceded it.

    I personally believe in natural, inalienable rights, but I think I am in the minority in this. I also believe, however, that the U.S. Constitution is unintelligible without belief in natural, inalienable rights, and I know that I'm in the minority on that. But that's another topic.

  • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:45PM (#17732400)
    I live in Canada. It's cold, it's wet, and during winter(lasts 10 months of the year) it's pretty dark so there aren't many rainbows.

    But yes, using my "m4d hacker skillz" I've managed to download a list of all the people pulled off to Gitmo the past few years. Only 3 /.ers on that list that I've seen, and they were all jerks anyway. They were bundled off to sunny Cuba for MPAA and RIAA-related comments, not for coup-related reasons.
  • by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:02PM (#17732564)

    Whenener I posted this opinion on this here forum, I was modded as a troll.

    Haven't you noticed that when people begin their posts with "I'm going to get modded troll for this..." they usualy get +5 Insightful instead? Try it sometime.
  • by memeplex ( 910698 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:30AM (#17733464)
    Yes, though I'd be happier if I was joyously partaking of a hot-dog bun.
  • by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:13AM (#17735072) Journal
    But....But...A few women getting hit on when they don't want to by an exceedingly rich, powerful, and well-educated man is definitely worse than 30,000 innocent lives!

    I mean....Won't someone think of....The women?
  • by darkonc ( 47285 ) <stephen_samuel @ b c g reen.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:45AM (#17735242) Homepage Journal

    Don't they swear them in with an oath to protect the Constitution?
    That's right protect it. The constitution's just a piece of paper The oath didn't say anything about obeying it, or respecting it, did it!??!.
    Sheesh .... get a law degree, you dweeb.
  • Addition: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @08:39AM (#17736342)
    14. Paragraph divisions are our friends.
  • by Intron ( 870560 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @10:49AM (#17737428)
    "unambiguous formal language"

    (defun tenth_amendment
        (cond ((and (not delegated_federal)
                  (not states_right))
                  (reserved states_or_people))
              (t (reserved federal))))
  • by Branko ( 806086 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:22AM (#17737770)
    ...dishonest or mentally challenged...

    ...are not mutually exclusive...

    He was using OR, not XOR ;)

  • by rkanodia ( 211354 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:09PM (#17740388)
    Bus error

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray