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The political fulcrum to the White House: the Supreme Court
by David Farside
Jun 16, 2008 | 671 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold Habeas Corpus was just one of many judicial rulings against the Bush Doctrine. The prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay now have the right to challenge the government in a Federal Court. Habeas Corpus is a constitutional right that protects the innocent from being falsely accused or unjustly held in prison. In this case, the government has to show cause or evidence indicating the detainees are terrorist before they are locked up and tortured. The decision was a judicial indictment of President Bush’s disregard for the Constitution. It will also set a political tone for the upcoming political debates.

Bush has argued that the so-called terrorist should be tried by a military court, where the prisoners would have limited access to a fair trial and hearsay evidence would be considered fact by the Republican rigged tribunal. Actually, it wouldn’t be a trial. It would be a hearing and everyone would be found guilty by association. The difference being, most would get a life sentence and a few would be killed. Now Bush has to prove he has sufficient evidence to hold them as prisoners. We know how Bush thinks: If you’re a Muslim from Iraq with a cell phone your a terrorist.

Bush said he didn’t agree with the decision and he is considering new legalization to get around the Constitution. That sounds like typical George. If he can’t win by the rules, he changes them.

But one attorney did agree with the Supreme Court decision. Navy commander Suzanne Lachelier, a lawyer for one of the detainees, said she will use the ruling to ask for a dismissal in her case against the government.

The court’s decision might emphasize the different political philosophies held by Obama and McCain. The close vote indicates how important it is to appoint judges. Yes, five judges supported the Constitution. But what is hard to believe is that four of them: Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Sam Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia didn‘t.

Obama, who at one time taught Constitutional Law, said: “Part of the role of the courts is that it is going protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsiders, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don’t have a lot of clout.”

Good for him.

McCain has a different philosophy about law and our Constitution. During a Republican debate in 2007, he said: “One of our greatest problems in America today is justices that legislate from the bench, activist judges.”

Evidently, he thinks the judges who protect the vulnerable, minorities and outsiders are activist judges.

In another debate, months later, McCain said: “The judges I would appoint are along the lines of justices Roberts and Alito, who have a proven record of strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.” The same two who voted against the right of Habeas Corpus.

This contrast between the two candidates, regarding judges, is not rhetorical. During house hearings to appoint two Supreme Court Justices; Obama voted against both Roberts and Alito. McCain voted to confirm them.

One of the four opposed to the favorable ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia didn’t take his loss gracefully, he wrote: “The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.” That kind of a threat might be considered by some conservative republican’s as a terrorist remark.

His remark does sum up the feelings of about 70 percent of Americans regarding Bush. In the future the nation will regret the day they voted for George W. Bush.

There will be heated debates during the next few months about the economy, health care and the war in Iraq. But just as important is the judicial philosophy of our next president who will probably have to appoint at least one new Supreme Court judge.

The ages of some Supreme Court judges might be the constitutional fulcrum to consider when voting for your favorite candidate. Currently, Judge Stevens is 88 years old and Justice Ruth Ginsburg is 75. Justice Kennedy is 71, Justices Bryer and Souter are both 69 and Scalia is 72.

Sometime during the next four months we have to decide if we want a president who will appoint more judges like McCain's favorites Roberts and Alito. Or judges who, according to Obama, should defend the minority, the vulnerable and the people and protect our constitutional right to Habeas Corpus.

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