International Law Takes Precedence? Unbelievable!
July 9, 2006
It is unbelievable. The United States Supreme Court elevated due process to al Qaeda terrorists while, at the same time, al Qaeda's terrorists continue to slaughter barbarically innocent civilians and torture their captives to death. Last week, the United States Supreme Court handed down such a ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld with Justices Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer rendering the majority decision. Justice Scalia filed a Dissent, joined by Justices Thomas and Alito. Chief Justice Roberts did not take part in this case because he had participated in an earlier decision.
This decision by the court guaranteed our enemies, in time of war no less, the full range of due process rights. This decision by the majority on the Supreme Court states that military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees, such as Salim Ahmed Hamdan imprisoned at Guantanamo, violates international law and Article 3 of the Geneva Accords. This decision has far reaching implications. The logic of this decision also means that American service men and women potentially could be accused of war crimes. This is an outrage. One can only imagine the reaction of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK or Ronald Reagan. It was Franklin Roosevelt who said "Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us." And it was President Kennedy who stated so eloquently "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
We believe that safeguarding national security is one of the highest obligations of government. To find that military tribunals are not in accord with international law is highly disturbing. The military tribunals, which the Supreme Court now finds illegal, would NOT have guaranteed, as is the case in civilian courts, the accused illegal combatants to be present at every stage of the trail, thus preserving the government's ability to conceal from the enemy, during wartime, our security secrets as well as our methods of obtaining them. In fact, protecting Americans from future attacks depends on that ability. However, it appears to us, five justices of the Supreme Court have subordinated that obligation to the hypothetical interests of enemy operatives.
In a world with increasing competition, Globalization is inevitable. Does that mean that economic interdependence should result in political and social interdependence with specific reference to the United State Constitution? Should we allow alterations to American rule of law so that it conforms to the opinions of other nations who follow different standards of law and share an entirely divergent legal tradition? It does indeed appear to be the logic used in the decision rendered by a majority of the Court, i.e., Justices Breyer, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, and Ginsburg.
Some time ago, Justice Breyer, discussed with ABC News how the Untied States is changing "through commerce and through globalization...that this change is having an impact on the courts. He speculated on "the challenge" of whether our US Constitution "fits into the governing document of other nations." We ask just where did the idea that the U. S. Constitution should "fit" into the laws of other nations? If a country can't make its own laws, how can it be a sovereign nation?
In a pervious case, Knight v. Florida, Justice Breyer said it was "useful" to consider court decisions on allowable delays of execution in India, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe. True, Zimbabwe, indeed, has had a lot of experience with executions, but it's hardly a country from which we should get guidance about due process.
And then there was the time when Justice Kennedy couldn't find any language in the U. S. Constitution to justify overturning the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, so he invoked "other authorities" in "Western Civilization," namely, the European Court of Human Rights, which invalidated EU countries' domestic laws proscribing homosexual conduct. Kennedy cited an amicus brief by Mary Robinson, former United Nations high commissioner for human rights. Kennedy wrote, "The right the petitioners seek has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom in many other countries," and he emphasized the "value we share with wider civilizations." It is our impression, however, that most other countries do not share American values based upon character, virtue and rule of law as expressly articulated in the US Constitution. In fact, it was Justice Scalia who eloquently dissented: "Constitutional entitlements do not spring into existence...because foreign nations decriminalize conduct." He called Kennedy's words "dangerous dicta," adding that the Supreme Court "should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans."
To us, it is now rather obvious as to the rationale behind the filibustering maneuverings in connection with the consideration of major judicial appointments. This seems to be particularly the case with respect to those nominated who may seem to be viewed as a strict constitutional constructionist as compared to an activist judiciary who would circumvent our Constitution, bow to international law, and diminish our sovereignty as a free nation. Ronald Reagan said: "We must realize that no arsenal or weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of a free people. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors. " President Reagan said it well.
We believe that Americans have such will and moral courage. That is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.