Monday, September 17, 2007

C-Day shout-outs to defending the Constitution!

How appropriate that on Constitution Day both The New York Times and Huffington Post feature opinion pieces on key Constitutional principles.

First, The Times with an editorial on restoring habeas corpus:
There are many other things deeply wrong with the Military Commissions Act, which established military tribunals to try any foreigner that Mr. Bush labels an illegal combatant. It also allowed the introduction of evidence tainted by coercion and endorsed "combatant status review tribunals," kangaroo courts in Guantánamo Bay that declare prisoners enemy combatants without a real hearing or reliable evidence.

All of those issues must be addressed, speedily, by Congress, but restoring habeas corpus would be a good first step. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, must ensure a vote on the habeas corpus restoration measure sponsored by Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Arlen Specter, its ranking Republican.

It is good to see the effort led by Mr. Specter, who as chairman of the committee before the 2006 election shepherded the military tribunal law through Congress at the behest of the White House. We hope similar principle will be on display by the other Republican and Democratic senators and representatives who betrayed the Constitution and the democracy they were sworn to defend by voting for that law.

Meanwhile, Philip Giraldi of and The American Conservative contributes the piece Bipartisan war against the Constitution today at HuffPo:
Many Americans accept that there has to be some abridgement of fundamental liberties while fighting a multi-faceted and unconventional war against terrorism, but few are actually aware just how much the constitutional rights that all citizens take for granted have been eroded. History also teaches us that once a right is suspended in all likelihood it is gone forever, particularly given the unwillingness of Congress to confront the White House over the Constitution, which President George W. Bush has described as "just a goddamned piece of paper." The virtual pillaging of the Bill of Rights by the White House and Congress is particularly regrettable in that the government cannot cite a single case where the use of the draconian new legislation has led to the arrest of anyone who was ready, willing, and able to carry out a terrorist act.

Lastly, at the risk of shameless self-promotion, yours truly spoke today at a Constitution Day rally at the state capitol sponsored by STOMP (Stop Taking Our Money and Property), which will air sometime this week on PCN. PCN updates their daily schedule once every 24 hours.

Andy in Harrisburg

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