Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The "Stable Bulwark of Our Liberties"

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday struck a blow for the separation of powers and dealt the Bush administration a big setback by ruling that suspects held without charge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to contest their imprisonment under the doctrine of habeas corpus.

Simply put, the Court held that the government may not keep anyone in custody indefinitely without having to justify its actions to a judge.

The rest of this week's TGIF, "The 'Stable Bulwark of Our Liberties,'" is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

This is an extremely important decision, and the unprincipled right wing is apoplectic. Thank goodness some people in power have resisted George II's fear-mongering.

Update -- Food for thought from the great Glenn Greenwald:
Three of the five Justices in the majority -- John Paul Stevens (age 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75) and David Souter (age 68) -- are widely expected by court observers to retire or otherwise leave the Court in the first term of the next President. By contrast, the four judges who dissented -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito -- are expected to stay right where they are for many years to come.

John McCain has identified Roberts and Alito as ideal justices of the type he would nominate, while Barack Obama has identified Stephen Breyer, David Souter and Ginsberg (all in the majority today). It's not hyperbole to say that, from Supreme Court appointments alone, our core constitutional protections could easily depend upon the outcome of the 2008 election.

8 comments:

Mike said...

The thing that's sad is that this decision squeaked through SCOTUS by a single lousy vote. We can be bloody sure that the administration and legislature will try again and again.

steven said...

Contrast this with the way the Justices voted in Kelo vs City of New London. Pretty depressing stuff. We're screwed either way.

Sheldon Richman said...

That's our dilemma, isn't it? Do we want the government to steal our homes or lock us up and throw away the key. As Jack Benny replied when told, "Your money or your life": "I'm thinking. I'm thinking!"

Anonymous said...

McCain identified this decision as one of the worst in the court's history. I recall the left calling McCain a sort of honest broker with the White House, suggesting that he was a Republican who would look out for civil liberties.

Sheldon Richman said...

McCain is a fraud. His "principled" stand against torture crumbled when it came to giving Bush the bill he wanted.

David Johnosn said...

Yup, it doesn't matter if it's Obama or McCain doing the appointing, we're gonna get screwed.

Sheldon Richman said...

We may be more screwed with McC.

Belinsky said...

We'd definitely be more screwed with McCain. Sometimes justices like Thomas vote better than the liberal wing, but McCain wouldn't appoint justices like Thomas...he'd appoint neoconservatives like Alito and Roberts. Kelo v. City of New London is the only instance I can think of where Roberts and Alito have voted better than Ginsberg, Souter and Stevens.

Fortunately in the case of eminent domain, many states have passed referenda (ballot measures) to ban eminent domain for private interests. California, my home state, just passed such a measure (Prop 99).