McCain favors convenience over justice, calls Supreme Court decision “one of the worst decisions in history”

The Supreme Court ruled this week for the third time confirming that Guantanamo Bay detainees DO have a right to habeas corpus petitions. McCain has responded by calling it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” Really? I always thought the Dred Scott case was a bit worse.

The presumptive GOP nominee said the decision, a 5-4 ruling Thursday that determined Guantanamo detainees have the right to seek release in civilian courts, would lead to a wave of frivolous challenges.

“We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called … habeas corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases,” he said at a town hall meeting in New Jersey.

So, his problem wasn’t that he thinks detainees don’t deserve the right to habeas corpus, but rather that it’ll be to much of a burden on the courts to, you know, do their jobs. Glad to see that convenience is more important to John McCain than justice.

McCain: Guantanamo Ruling One of the “Worst Decisions” in History – [FoxNews]

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Supreme Court Weighs in on Gun Control

 

On Tuesday the Supreme Court seemed ready to strike down, at least in part, Washington D.C.’s total ban on handguns. Chief Justice John Roberts was skeptical from the beginning about the ban, stating, “What is reasonable about a total ban on possession?” A majority of the justices are likely to agree with the Chief Justice.

On the other side of the debate, Justice Stephen Breyer felt that a city with a high crime rate, such as D.C., may have a case for a handgun ban.

The mayor of Washington D.C. was discouraged by the debate. A lifting of the ban in his view would create negative consequences. He stated, “More guns anywhere in the District of Columbia is going to lead to more crime.”

The 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Reading this, it seems to me that the D.C. handgun ban is reasonable and Constitutional. The handguns owned by the citizens of D.C. are not tied to serving in a militia, nor does the law ban other guns such as rifles and shotguns. Handguns were made to do one thing, not hunt, but to kill human beings. The government should reserve the right to regulate handguns and other weapons, such as assault rifles, that serve this deadly purpose.

Justices Agree on Right to Own Guns— [My Way News] 

Supreme Court Dismisses Wiretapping Challenge

The Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping policies won’t be held accountable in the Supreme Court anytime soon. The Court rejected a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union to begin a lawsuit against the secretive eavesdropping program that began after September 11. They gave no comment on their decision.

After the ACLU sued over the legality of the program, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned them down claiming they couldn’t prove harm. This is where the catch-22 comes up: You can legally sue over the program, but only if you can prove that you were wiretapped. And the names of those who have been wiretapped are kept completely secret by the government. So get it? You basically can’t sue.

“It’s very disturbing that the president’s actions will go unremarked upon by the court,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s national security project. “In our view, it shouldn’t be left to executive branch officials alone to determine the limits.”

Now that Congress’ temporary changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from last August have expired (these changes allowed for legality of warrantless wiretapping and immunity for telecom companies that helped), only existing wiretaps can be maintained and all new wiretaps will technically need warrants.

What happened to checks and balances? If the Supreme Court won’t investigate possible executive wrongdoings, who will?

Top court rejects ACLU domestic spying lawsuit – [MSNBC]

Forget Your Poor, Sick and Weak: Only the Rich get to Vote in America

With election fever running through the air, it seems like everywhere you turn there’s another news story about the 2008 presidential campaign.  However, if Indiana has its way, you might not even get to vote.  The Supreme Court will review Indiana’s voter ID laws that require state-issued photo identification cards to vote.  While supporters of the law say it’s necessary to prevent voter fraud (despite the fact that Indiana has never even cited a case of voter impersonation), it also disenfranchises at least 13% of Indiana’s population who lack the proper identification.  This law disproportionately affects poor, elderly and minority voters who overwhelmingly lack the correct form of identification in comparison to other people.  Whether they simply can’t afford the ID or they lack the mobility or transportation to get to appropriate public office to attain it, this law is preventing willing American citizens, many of who have voted all of their lives, from taking part in the political process.

“It is exceedingly difficult to maneuver in today’s America without a photo ID (try flying, or even entering a tall building such as the courthouse in which we sit, without one),” wrote Judge Richard A. Posner in a January 2007 opinion by the Seventh United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upholding the Indiana law and affirming a 2007 decision by Sarah Evans Barker, a federal district court judge. “And as a consequence, the vast majority of adults have such identification.”

Showing that he completely misses the point, Judge Posner doesn’t seem realize that if people can’t afford an ID, they probably can’t afford to fly anyway.  I hope the Supereme Court chooses to overturn these kinds of laws.  With such a small percentage of Americans actually voting, I don’t think we should actively try to discourage more from taking part in the political process.  Voting is one of the most sacred rights of our democracy.  It is a right that should be guaranteed to all American citizens, not just the ones who can afford it.

Voter ID Laws Are Set to Face a Crucial Test – [New York Times]

Huckabee/Romney Battle Over Who is Agent of Change?

In the latest couple Republican debates that occurred in New Hampshire, Republicans sparred and attacked each other over many things, but the language seemed familiar. A few candidates, namely Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney kept talking about “change” and being “agents of change.” Sound like the Democratic 1st and 2nd place finishers in Iowa?

However, what about their positions will actually change things in the United States? Both want a continuing presence in Iraq and supported the troop surge. No change there. Both support the discriminatory practice of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and do not advocate for the rights of the GLBT community. No change there. Both want to continue the trend of the growing income gap between rich and poor by making permanent the Bush tax cuts. No change there. And both will be continuing the 8 years of ineffective Republican leadership. Absolutely no change there.

Huckabee did point out that Romney may be the real agent of change. Romney’s positions have changed on abortion, gun rights, and same sex unions.

Both candidates however do support one change that would shatter the rights of women; an overturn of Roe v Wade. And I believe the second most important reason, behind the War in Iraq, there must be a progressive victory in 2008 is to secure the possible three Supreme Court Justices that may retire within the next eight years. Both Huckabee and Romney would install justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both conservative extremists.

Lieberman Endorses McCain

Joe Lieberman, the Independent Democrat from Connecticut, today expressed his endorsement for Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. In recent days McCain’s diminishing candidacy has picked up key endorsements from the Boston Globe and the Des Moines Register.

There was once a time when I expressed support for a McCain-Lieberman ticket. I loved how these two could see across party lines to attempt to solve problems. However, as Lieberman stated in his speech defining why he supported McCain, this is not an ordinary election, and these are not ordinary times.

We are in the middle of a five year war that we should have never started, and McCain supports escalating that conflict. We are at the brink of starting another war with Iran over a nuclear program which was halted three years ago. We are at a point in time where it is still legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation. We are in a point in time where the balance of the Supreme Court hangs by a thread. There is already a distinct 5-4 conservative majority in the high court, and two or three judges are set to retire within the next four to eight years. Extremely important issues will be decided by this court in the near future; abortion/women’s rights, campaign finance laws, legality of suspending habeas corpus, and the legality of detaining “enemy combatants” for indefinite amounts of time with no trial, among many others.

However, I remain adamant that I will not support any candidate who believes we should continue a war based, at best, on misinformation, and at worst, on outright lies, that is taking the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. I will not support any candidate who seeks diplomatic action in the form of a military campaign. I also express the hope that none of you will either.

How to Embarrass Yourself on an International Level: Musharraf has Shovel, Can’t Stop Digging Hole

Abusing Power for Dummies by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (pictured above at the worst presidents ever convention):

  1. Get elected under questionable circumstances that draw international scrutiny.
  2. When the Supreme Court attempts to question your election, declare a state of emergency, take control of the country and its military, cancel scheduled elections and arrest the Supreme Court justices who were questioning you (as well as other political opponents).
  3. When the international community demands you stop acting like a dick, put together your own Supreme Court and reschedule elections but refuse to step down as commander of the military.
  4. When international pressure continues, step down from your military position but refuse to give up power.
  5. Finally, lift the state of emergency and restore the Constitution (only after adding your own amendments that specifically state that you can’t be held responsible for your previous actions).

Yep, that’s right.  I mean, 70% of our nation thinks our president is an idiot, but just imagine having this clown!  Who does he think he’s fooling with this?  Does he really think that scribbling in a few of his own amendments in the margins of his country’s Constitution is going to protect him from what he’s done?  Does he think that people are going to stop questioning the validity of his election if he simply replaces the Supreme Court?  All he has done is bring more international attention to how incompetent of a leader he is!  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried:

Mr. Musharraf said in his executive order restoring the Constitution that any provision made during the last six weeks of emergency rule “shall not be called in question by or before any court.”

A second order revoking the proclamation of emergency states that any future presidential order regarding the issue could also not be challenged in any court. Presidential orders usually lapse after three months unless ratified by Parliament, but if issued under a state of emergency, they automatically become law.

Mr. Musharraf also issued six constitutional amendments late Friday night that strengthen his legal position regarding his re-election and his dismissal of the Supreme Court. Three amendments cleared away restrictions raised by lawyers challenging Mr. Musharraf’s eligibility to run for another term. Another confirmed that the former judges of the Supreme Court could no longer continue in their jobs, and that the newly installed judges would replace them.

Don’t worry, Pakistan isn’t going to take this laying down.  Already, 23 former ambassadors and foreign secretaries have signed a statement calling for Mr. Musharraf to reverse all the steps he has taken since imposing emergency rule.  Also, lawyers in the country are boycotting the courts and refusing to work before judges who took a new oath under the emergency.  Imagine, lawyers holding their President responsible for violating their country’s judicial system!  Keep your eyes on Pakistan over the coming week.  I think things are only going to get worse for Musharraf.

Musharraf Lifts State of Emergency in Pakistan – [New York Times]