Rule of law vs. rule of flaw
“[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his ruling,” President Andrew Jackson famously blustered after the US Supreme Court overruled him on the issue of US treaty obligations with the Cherokee. “Now let him enforce it.”
We’ve come a long way, baby — these days, presidential revolts against the Court are advertised as “disagreements” and carried out with procedural foot-dragging and visits to the Hill in search of legislative workarounds. The Court’s third rebuke of the Bush administration on the rights of prisoners at DoD’s Guantanamo gulag is the premier case in point.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey claims that the Court’s ruling — which upholds the right of Gitmo detainees to appeal their detentions in the US courts — won’t affect ongoing illegal “trials” before “military commissions.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), apparently forgetting the prohibition on ex post facto laws, proposed a constitutional amendment to legalize the Gitmo operation. Even more baffling as amnesia goes is the reaction of GOP presidential standard-bearer (and ex-”unlawful combatant” per Hanoi) John McCain, who expressed “concern” that the Court might prevent the US from treating its prisoners as poorly as his captors treated him.
Three “knock it off” orders from the Supreme Court; three “drag it out” operations from the War Party … and no end in sight for more than 200 victims left trudging along on the Treadmill of Tears.