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Archive for the ‘SCOTUS’ Category

This blogburst is courtesy of Stop the ACLU: Are Military Tribunals Fair?

After years of litigation a verdict was finally reached for Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s driver and detainee accused of war crimes. While cleared of conspiracy he was convicted on multiple counts of material support for terrorism. Legal groups like the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights quickly criticized the ruling. Certain media elements were not far behind. Much of the criticism was understandable, and much was distorted through the lens of bias. Most of the criticism ended up being deflated after a surprisingly lenient sentence of five and a half years, including five years and a month already served. This sentence fell short of the thirty years to life the prosecutors wanted. Even one of Salim’s defense attorneys admitted the verdict was fair and just. However, a fair outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect a fair process. So, are the military tribunals for the Guantanamo detainees fair? To answer this question we must critically look at both sides of the argument, the details of the process itself, and understand how we arrived at this point.

When war has been declared the United States has made use of military tribunals to try captured enemies outside the scope of conventional civil and criminal matters, historically providing a trial for combatants acting in violation to the Rules of War. The Geneva Conventions established what most countries have adopted as the international standard regarding such rules.

The perception pushed by some is that combatants held at Guantanamo deserve protection under the provisions provided by the Geneva Convention. Others argued that the essence of the Convention is the distinction between lawful combatants and civilians and that terrorists violate this by being non-uniformed, negating this distinction and endangering innocent civilians. This argument applies that Prisoner of War status and the rights that come with that should not extend to those that violate its rules. The Supreme Court settled this argument in 2006 in favor of extending many of these rights to captured combatants held at Guantanamo. This decision was Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld which extended certain rights to the detainees and placed limits on the authority of the executive branch. This decision was the catalyst for Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act of 2006 authorizing the establishment of military commissions within the parameters set by the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 ruling in Boumediene vs. Bush threw another wrench into the efforts to prosecute prisoners at Guantanamo by determining that habeas corpus rights extend to these prisoners and that the Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally suspended those rights. Defense lawyers used this ruling in an attempt to delay the military trial of Salim Hamdan, but were unsuccessful in their argument that the procedures violated certain constitutional rights. District Judge James Robertson ruled against delaying the trial on the grounds that these arguments could be raised on appeal after the completion of the trial. How this ruling’s precedent will affect future proceedings against Guantanamo detainees is yet to be seen.

Determining whether the military commission process is fair requires looking at several factors. Hamdan’s trial served as a test case for the government prosecutors and the detainee defense lawyers. Behind Hamdan there are around 80 other Guantanamo detainees, including five alleged September 11th plotters, the Pentagon intends to try before the commissions. It is important to observe Hamdan’s case to determine the probability of fairness in future military commissions because of the precedents it has set.

Most of the key criticisms in Hamdan’s case were addressed. The concern that evidence obtained through coercive interrogation would be used was alleviated when the judge excluded statements obtained from Hamdan prior to his arrival at Guantanamo. Concerns remained over allowed statements obtained after his arrival due to defense allegations they were obtained through abusive procedures. However, no convincing evidence was presented to prove these allegations. Defense attorneys were also given adequate opportunity and access to challenge secret evidence. Many other points exist in favor of the fairness in this trial including the fact that Hamdan’s conviction is automatically appealed to a military appellate court. That court can reduce, but cannot increase, his sentence. Hamdan can then appeal to U.S. civilian courts as well. However, many legal concerns remain such as the question of whether his prosecution violated the Constitution’s prohibition of ex post facto laws. Concerns addressed in Hamdan’s case do not guarantee future trials will be addressed similarly, but recognized respect of precedent makes it probable.

In my opinion, Salim Hamdan received a fair trial and a lenient but just sentencing. The system in place for future military trials is still not perfect, but provides more protections and rights for captured enemy combatants than ever provided in history. Certain elements definitely need to be addressed while others are yet to be determined. The legal journey to refine the process has only begun.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

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Many liberals have a tendency to brand conservatives who believe in States’ Rights as racists. This is a perfect example of why we feel so strongly about States’ Rights. The Supremes get thousands of cases per year from which to chose which ones they will decide. This is a situation where this was only one state, but there is the issue of the death penalty so they get to put their greedy and arrogant noses into the State of Louisiana.

The case: A man rapes his eight – 8 – year old step-daughter. He goes to trial. He has a lawyer. They have the trial. The people decided he was guilty. The jury decided he deserved the death penalty for this case. (Did you know the poor child was cut so badly she bleeding, and I don’t even know all the facts but this really disturbs me.) He has his appeals. For 10 years this goes on and on. This child is now a young woman. What will happen to her? Does she have to live with the fear of his release from prison on parole?

Not according to Governor Jindal. Finally a MAN who has the cajones to stand up to the supremes! It’s about damn time, I can tell ya that.

I am outraged by the Supreme Court’s decision. It is an affront to the people of Louisiana and the jury’s unanimous decision in this case. “The opinion reflects a clear abuse of judicial authority, trampling the constitutional authority of states to act through the legislative process. The Court found, ‘there is a distinction between intentional first degree murder on the one hand and nonhomicide crimes against individual persons, even including child rape, on the other. The latter crimes may be devastating in their harm, as here, but in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public, they cannot be compared to murder in their severity and irrevocability.’

“The Supreme Court is dead wrong. “It is fundamentally improper for the Supreme Court to base an important decision like this on its ‘independent judgment’ about a perceived ‘national consensus against capital punishment for the crime of child rape.’ The opinion reads more like an out-of-control legislative debate than a constitutional analysis.

“One thing is clear: the five members of the Court who issued the opinion do not share the same ‘standards of decency’ as the people of Louisiana. One Justice said that ‘the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child.’ That is incredibly absurd. The most repugnant crimes deserve the harshest penalties, and nothing is more repugnant than the brutal rape of an eight-year-old child. “We will evaluate ways to amend our statute to maintain death as a penalty for this horrific crime.”

Source: Gov. Jindal’s Newsroom.

You tell ‘em, Gov. We’ll back you on this one. I am totally disgusted. I want the death penalty for each child molester. I don’t care. We need to crack to on perverts and animals who prey on our young and helpless. You who want to rehabilitate these monsters, go to hell. It cannot be done, and I am not about to wait around while they kill, maim, and rape many more before you get it through your thick skulls that these animals need to die. It is the most compassionate thing to do for the victim – remember them? – and the perpetrator. Good night.

Update: Each of these posts that I’ve trackbacked to has more on this subject, and they have all done a very good job of covering this issue. I recommend them highly if you want to really understand what has occurred here. Also, Obama has even condemned this opinion. Don’t get your hopes up, though. He is only going to nominate justices that would the same exact way.

Update: Another amazing move by Governor Jindal. As I have just learned, Governor Jindal signs chemical castration bill into law.

They get a choice: physical or chemical. Oh, and they don’t just get castrated and leave – they still have to serve out their sentence.

SB 144 by Senators Nick Gautreaux, Amedee, Dorsey, Duplessis and Mount provides that on a first conviction of aggravated rape, forcible rape, second degree sexual battery, aggravated incest, molestation of a juvenile when the victim is under the age of 13, or an aggravated crime against nature, the court may sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration. On a second conviction of the above listed crimes, the court is required to sentence the offender to undergo chemical castration.

Gov. Jindal made it absolutely clear that signing this bill today was about more than just sending a no-tolerance message across his state: “I want to send the message loud and clear – to the Supreme Court of the United States and beyond – make no mistake about it, if anyone wants to molest children and commit sexual assaults on kids they should not do so here in Louisiana. Here, we will do everything in our power to protect our children and we will not rest until justice is won and we have fully punished those who harm them.”

Take that, supremes and mainical perverts! Stand tall, Bobby, stand tall.

Hat tip: Stop the ACLU.

Posts I’ve trackposted to at Linkfest and other sites:

Stop the ACLU: Louisiana Governor Jindal Vows to Amend State Law to Maintain Death as a Penalty for Child Rape, Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Liberal Supreme Court Justices Side With Child Rapists (UPDATED), Sister Toldjah: Discussion: Kennedy v. Louisiana (UPDATE: OBAMA DISAGREES WITH DECISION, UPDATE 2: JINDAL REAX), American Daughter – FrontPage: Reactions To SCOTUS Decision On Child Rape, Stop the ACLU: Hey Supreme Court, Since You Think Death Isn’t Proportional Punishment for Rape, How About Castration?

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Starting almost at the beginning our country’s history, there has been an effort to disarm the black man and his family. It paid no mind to whether they were free or slave men. This is one of the most onerous secrets that pervades society ’til today, to the point where blacks believe in gun-control. Study your history, men!

Of course the one case cited most frequently, though you would never know it, is that awful Dred Scott v. Sandford decision by the SCOTUS in the year 1857. This is the Republican reaction to the decision, this is the Democrat reaction.

Okay, so you do not see a cooralation between the Dred Scott decision and guns? Understandable. That is why I have included this information. To advance this train of historical facts, I have come across this site: The Racist Origins of US Gun Control, by Steve Ekwall. (Hat tip: LizMichael.com.) This article has dates, places, reasonings, and some court titles. It is about the reasoning coming out of the Dred Scott decision. Since slaves or free black men cannot be citizens, they are not entitled to the same rights as citizens under the constitution and the bill of rights. The Bill of Rights, you say? Yes, the Second Amendment!

Because they were declared non-citizens, they were not entitled to own guns. I can only imagine how many precious, beautiful people would have been spared from those racist KKK (Byrd) types if they had only had the opportunity to defend themselves…please. Read up on your history. Gun control is one of the ways they had to force you into ‘slavery’ for the government. Free yourelves, men and women. Once and for all. May God bless your every peaceful effort.
Posts I’ve trackbacked to at other sites:

Mark My Words, Woman Honor Thyself, Right Truth, Mark My Words, 123beta, Pirate’s Cove, Potbelly Stove, Wolf Pangloss, Adam’s Blog, Su. Stageleft.

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I have received at least two articles, one requesting for prayers for the Chief Justice and another explaining what possibly could have happened because he suffers the same condition. These are two friends that I trust, not just something off of a push poll.

I really would appreciate it if you would give them a read. The first one (for prayers) is Chief Justice Roberts Suffers Seizure, and the second one (condition) is Chief Justice Roberts and Seizures. These are two fine gentlemen, and I believe they speak from the heart and knowledge.

To the Roberts family, I pray for you all. Being an epileptic, I know you must feel so helpless. Do not. God is control. There is nothing you do, and there is nothing you did to cause this, so just be there for him. He will let you know if there is anything necessary.

I also pray for the Chief Justice himself. May he feel better soon. I will do my personal prayer privately.

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It’s the only word that I could think of that rhymes, okay? Now let’s move forward. The SCOTUS may have to go back and look at the way they ruled on the McCain/Feingold Incumbant Protection Act-er-Campaing Finance Reform Act.

They have ruled today on FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-969) and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-970). The outcome was finally correct. Most normal people may breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, the court has decided that it cannot take away our free speech rights. Especially during a campaign!

If you would like to read any of the decisions, you will find them here:

You can read the ACLJ amicus brief here.
You can read the Supreme Court decision here.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice specializes in constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.

There is another case that was disclosed today. Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation (U.S. No. 06-157). This one is about some athiets trying stop the use Faith Based programs. You can read more here. You may also find related sources here:

ACLJ Pleased Supreme Court Loosens Limits on Election Advertising.

Reuters – Supreme Court: Taxpayers Can’t Sue on Faith-Based Plan.

CNS News – Supreme Court Says No to Challenge of Federal Faith-Based Initiative.

ACLJ Represents Members of Congress in Asking Supreme Court to Uphold Constitutionality of Child Porn Law.

ChurchReport.com – A Supreme Court Vacancy Looming?

Full Issue Brief.

I am getting so fed up with the ignorance of the American people. THERE IS NO SEPERATE OF CHURCH AND STATE. Read your constitution if you don’t believe me. Show me where you find those words! Besides, if it were so, why did they have prayers and Church inside the Congress? HMM? Oh, you did not know this? See, that’s what I’m talking about. I am not saying people are stupid. I wouldn’t do that. I am saying you are ignorant to the facts of history.

(Probably for the same reason I was/am. I was bored to tears by the teachers I got stuck with! But now we have no excuse. We are older.) After Psalm 96, read the 5th paragraph. You will find that our FIRST President and our FIRST congress recognized God Almighty. If, as they are trying to say now, we are to have no contact with our Maker, I dare say, how are we supposed to live? Like animals? I WILL NOT!

I’m quite sure there are many more souces (just look in our governmental archives), but I really must get going. I have much work to do over at DoD Daily News-2, DoD Daily News and Rosemary’s Thoughts. I’ve decided to consolidate everything I write over at Rosemary’s Thoughts. Plus, I am going to writing over there by myself and for myself. Since it’s new, I can spill my guts and no one will notice. lol. Everyone have a nice day.

PS. Even the Left should be grateful, even though this ruling did not go their way. This ruling did go the way of Free Speech. At least for THAT we can agree.

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Actually, it is known as McCain-Feingold’s, “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.” HA! That’s a laugh. Now they are trying to shut up bloggers as well. But that’s a different story from this.

In the 2004 elections, Wisconsin’s Right to Life tried to run an ad asking voters to call the Senate to tell their representatives not to join in the filibuster against President Bush’ judicial nominees. They were denied access by the FEC, because they said that this group was trying to influence the outcome of the election.

May I pleace ask a question? Why do we have to listen to all these blowhards who have a lot of money from the lobbyists they get to have lunch with while our political free speech is silenced? Are we truly equal or are polititians more privileged than we?

I found out that this is going to the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) in April and will be decided by the end of the court’s term this year. This is a good thing. A bad thing? President Bush is siding with the FEC. So is McCain. Who isn’t siding with Bush and McCain? The RNC! My God, what is going on around here?

If you would like to read more about this issue, there is an article in the Washington Post entitled, High Court To Revisit Campaign Finance Law written by Robert Barnes and Matthew Mosk. If you would care to look up this case, it’s numbers are Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life (06-969) and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (06-970). Have a great day.

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