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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Habeas Corpus Revisited

[Disclaimer: This post was first published on Coleen Rowley's campaign weblog.]

Earlier this month, we discussed the concept of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is the centuries-old legal dictum which guarantees that the government can't lock you up and throw away the key for no reason. It's what guarantees you the right to come before a judge and challenge your arrest. It's the reason why every cop show ever made mentions that everyone 'has the right to make a phone call' after an arrest.
This past Tuesday, George Bush signed a law putting an end to habeas corpus, a law which John Kline eagerly helped pass.

It is not possible to overstate how much damage this law does to the concept of justice as it has come to be understood in the Western world, and the media has not paid it nearly the attention it deserves. However, in what little coverage it has received, there has been some question about whether the bill suspends habeas corpus for U.S. citizens, or only for non-citizens. Today, the Washington Post gave us the answer:

In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

The Justice Department statement specifically mentions detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, but is broader than that. It says the court cannot consider habeas corpus petitions "filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future."

And the Military Commissions Act says that anyone can be declared an enemy combatant. Even U.S. citizens. So you, or I, or any of your friends and family, can be 'disappeared' forever, if we're unlucky enough for George Bush to label us as enemy combatants.

For some reason, John Kline thinks this is a good thing.

(Disclaimer: This blog post is not a position statement. It is a current events update which points out that John Kline is willing to help George Bush eviscerate the American legal system and Constitution in the misguided belief that it makes our country safer.)

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