Friday, June 13, 2008

Ignoring the Supreme Court

Yes, I know all about the SCOTUS decision on Gitmo yesterday. I'm not going to comment. Everything worthwhile has already been said. Yes, I think it was wrong, but I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

I realize given the intent of this blog that a discussion would fit well here, but I just don't have anything interesting to say on the subject.

However, on Tammy Bruce's blog today, a poster named Maynard has a post that's at least tangential to this issue. And, while I don't think anyone's recommending that Bush follow Lincoln's lead, the parallels are interesting.

To wit, Lincoln illegally suspended habeas corpus for 2 years with regard to military detainees in spite of a SCOTUS decision against him.

Lieutenant John Merryman, leading a unit of the Maryland cavalry, destroyed a bridge vital to troop movements. Lincoln's army detained him. Held at Fort McHenry, he filed a writ of habeas corpus. The Chief Justice ruled that Merryman must be freed.

Lincoln ignored the court. The Union army marched into Baltimore and declared martial law. Mayor Brown and others were imprisoned for the duration of the war. Lincoln's unauthorized suspension of habeas corpus continued until 1863, when Congress validated his actions.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Someone asked me if George W. Bush (R-USA) could ask Congress to suspend habeas corpus for Gitmo detainees? It's unclear to me, but a better question might be, would they? Given that it's a Democratic controlled Congress and Bush is a lame duck, you'd expect the answer to be 'no'.

However, given that it's an election year, Congress might, but only if it were politically expedient.

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