Sunday, April 22, 2007

DC Circuit Upholds MCA

Required for Con Law Class
In Boumediene v. Bush (DC Cir. 2007) the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Military Commissions Act (as we discussed in class) . In the opinion(pdf) two judges held that the provision suspending habeas rights for alien detainees was constitutional because aliens held outside the U.S. are not entitled to constitutional rights. One judge dissented arguing that Article I prohibits Congress from suspending the writ unless it finds that it is necessary to secure the peace during an invasion or rebellion. Congress made no such finding in the Act. The Supreme Court denied cert. Justice Souter took the unusual action of issuing a dissenting opinion(pdf) with Justice Ginsburg and Breyer joining.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I feel that it would be nice to give all people, who fall under U.S. detainment, habeas rights I have to agree with the court's ruling here. I don't believe that non-citizens, held outside the U.S., have "rights" under the Constitution. If the founding fathers would have wanted those rights to apply to citizens of other countries, they would have written it that way.

However, if the military "has the means" to try these people for crimes against America they should be afforded legal council, at least. Otherwise, we should just hold them as POW's until the war is over.

-Patriot

A. Vick said...

I disagree Patriot. When Iran took British soldiers as prisoners for trespassing in their waters, we fully expected them to be treated fair and well even though Iran had no reason to do so. I think there is clearly a double standard in how America sees the rest of the world and how the world sees America. As Americans, most of the time we feel we're in some way above citizens of other countries and entitled to certain rights even when we violate laws of said countries. I believe these detainees are entitled to certain rights if not under the Geneva Convention than out of respect for the sovereignity of other nations. Although I'm sure the founding fathers didn't assume the rights in the constitution would be applied to foreign held prisoners of the U.S. I'm sure they didn't envision the times we are in now. I'm also quite sure they didn't assume that the United States would be at the forefront of denying persons their basic human rights. The constitution states that every man is entitled to certain inaliable rights, not just those born in America.