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US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the exact-words dept.

The Courts 1151

spiedrazer writes "In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for the Bush Administration's many questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue before a Congressional committee that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens. In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. The Attorney General was being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18. THe MSM are not covering this story but Colbert is (click on the fourth video down, 'Exact Words')." From the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel commentary: "While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded."

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Hmmm (4, Insightful)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731682)

"Nothing to see here, please move along."

First time I've ever seen that. Couldn't be more descriptive of what the administration would like everyone to do... for everything.

And, btw, this load of crap from the same party who ridiculed "That depends what 'is' is."

Re: Scary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731796)

Remember grandpa Bush helped support the Nazis during WWII. Grandpa was even convicted on it!

So how can one claim to be fighting for freedom and "The American Way", while at the same time taking away that very freedom and desecrating all those men that gave up their lives war after war for freedom and keep from giving a maniacal laugh at the same time?

This administration has to be either the most dishonest or mentally challenged administration in history!

Re: Scary (1, Redundant)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731902)

AMEN.

For those who are Google SHILLS, SUCH AS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731872)

For those who are Google SHILLS, SUCH AS *not* yours truly, you are right up there with Bush and his team of crackpot commies!

Rights? Wrong. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731916)

You know, who ever declared that Alberto Gonzales has the right to live? Anyone?
 
Quite the contrary. The penalty for treason is hanging. Don't they swear them in with an oath to protect the Constitution?

Re:Rights? Wrong. (1, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732068)

i really wish i had some mod points right now. best comment i've read on this issue on digg OR slashdot all day.

Re:Rights? Wrong. (3, Informative)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732084)

You know perjury isn't treason. As a crime treason is very specifically defined. People toss "traitor", "treason", "treasonous", etc. around without even the slightest hint that an act of treason has actually been committed. They should rip the tongues out of anyone who makes baseless accusations.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732022)

And, btw, this load of crap from the same party who ridiculed "That depends what 'is' is."
I'm no fan of the Republicans, but you've gotta admit that Clinton was being pretty ridiculous. :-) Blame to go around on the hypocrisy issue.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732112)

what Clinton did was stupid and yes democrats are technically being hypocrites. But Clinton's actions did not have the potential to destroy Rule of Law and deprive Americans of their freedoms.

Contradiction? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731684)

How can you suspend something that doesn't exist then?

Re:Contradiction? (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731940)

How can you suspend something that doesn't exist then?

This was more or less Hamilton's argument against a Bill of Rights. He predicted arguments such as this, based on interpretation of the specific "grant" of right.

But as he pointed out, under the Constitution rights are not granted by the Constitution. Rights, in a government of, by and for the people are held by them in the first place, not doled out by a government that is merely their social tool.

The Constitution is not a grant of rights to the people, but The People imposing limits on the powers of government to infringe and usurp their innate rights. If the government is not allowed the power to infringe rights, no code is necessary to enforce them, and no code exists to be warped into its Newspeak antithesis.

The government only has the power attributed to it by The People. Power is to the people. The Constitution is a limit on the government's power, not your rights. Have we got that?

But The People have come to think of government as the source of power and the doler of rights. Essentially Monarchial. That's why even the term "Liberal" now means a grant from the government, rather than the freedom of the people, and why even "Liberal" in the modern socialist sense is a legitimately bad word in terms of American political philosophy. It implys you are a ward/serf of the state. Someone to importune for a handout, when in point of fact the power, money and services are yours, by ownership and by right.

That these people are being allowed to pervert the system in the name of "Conservatism" to install an Orwellian fascist state is a crime against The People. Literally. The People ought to send them to jail. They belong there.

I fear, however, that instead I, and those like me, shall be sent to exile at best; and the wall at worst.

Been nice knowing you; have a happy; and remember, you do not watch the TV Grandpa, the TV watches you. When you least expect it, you're elected, it's your lucky day. Smile! You're on candid camera. We come in peace. Shoot to kill.

KFG

Re:Contradiction? (1)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732018)

I fear, however, that instead I, and those like me, shall be sent to exile at best; and the wall at worst.
They don't send people into exile anymore. They just lock you up in prison to rot for the rest of your life.

Re:Contradiction? (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732108)

Wish I had mod points, brother. As a Canadian who knows and likes many different Americans, I worry about what is happening to your country. I used to be a fan of Bush, but over the past couple of years, he and his administration have become completely unhinged. The sad thing is I don't think Hillary or Obama will change the rules.

old (2, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731686)

This story is about a week old, but still very disturbing. Do these people not respect our freedoms at all? Is our next war going to be "The War on Politicians?"

Re:old (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731706)

The Second Amendment is starting to look better and better all the time.

It's because gun nuts foolishly support the right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731828)

Except these people pander to gun nuts. The people with the means to exercise the second amendment are on their side.

It's unfortunate that most gun nuts are all backwater hick libertarians willing to vote against their own interests, and sit on their firearms against their own interests, instead of more rational people capable of fomenting revolution and bringing about a post-state, post-capitalist society.

Re:It's because gun nuts foolishly support the rig (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731954)


It's unfortunate that most gun nuts are all backwater hick libertarians willing to vote against their own interests, and sit on their firearms against their own interests, instead of more rational people capable of fomenting revolution and bringing about a post-state, post-capitalist society.

Hmm. You must mean the kind of society where whoever has the most guns, makes the rules.

Oh, wait, we already have that.

Any more brilliant ideas?

Re:It's because gun nuts foolishly support the rig (3, Insightful)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732072)

The guns are for protection and to take shots at idiot know-it-alls that like to talk down to us based on where we may live and the fact that we may want to have a firearm in our possesion at all times......

Son, your not gonna win any supporters with your attitude. Also even us "backwater hick libertarians" can read and have access to 'Puters and the Net.

old-Right to bare arms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732134)

"The Second Amendment is starting to look better and better all the time."

Look at how well it's working in Iraq.

Re:old (3, Insightful)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731708)

This story is about a week old, but still very disturbing. Do these people not respect our freedoms at all? Is our next war going to be "The War on Politicians?"

Yes, hopefully.

Amendment X (5, Informative)

ebunga (95613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731702)

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


I don't have anything else to say.

And IX too (5, Informative)

ebunga (95613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731730)

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Re:And IX too (5, Insightful)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731824)

Seriously? Was that just some sort of test to see if the committee was listening? Or if the people of America are listening? The Attorney General ought to be removed from his position for such a clearly unconstitutional view... I mean, really, amendments IX and X are pretty damned clear on this matter.

When will we (as a people) care that our rights are very very quickly being crushed under the thumb of our government?

Re:Amendment X (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731758)

Perhaps that isn't such a good idea. Remember you're dealing with a politician; it might be worth be worth spelling it out in words of one syllable.

Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeached? (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731712)

Or more appropriately, executed for treason?

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (5, Funny)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731740)

Because, those who suggest that are imprisoned and executed for treason.

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731746)

Where's all these constitution loving guns nuts I'm always hearing about? How come no-one puts a bullet in people like this? Is it just the shoot terms in the US that cause such apathy in the redneck population? Or is it just that gun nuts are too poor these days to afford bus fare?

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (2, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731812)

You can't say they haven't tried [wikipedia.org]

...

Oh, wait. Georgia the country. Curse my American geography education!

Just turn their own supporters against them: 2nd (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731982)

Using Gonzales' logic, we can safely say that there is no right to bear arms (the second amendment is also written in the negative). So now the government can come and collect all those pesky weapons that people have.

I don't understand Americans... (5, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731886)

It amazes me that Clinton got impeached for telling some lies about a few off-side blowjobs and for getting a few laundry bills.

A few years later, a different president tells lies about so-called weapons of mass destruction, fabricates connections between Saddam and terror groups, and uses those lies as a means to justify a war that get tens of thousands of people killed. But y'all cool with that?

Re:I don't understand Americans... (5, Insightful)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731960)

In America.. doesn't sex get censored on TV, while you can buy guns anywhere? .. that could be a problem.

In Aus.. guns aren't easy to get to, while our TV is innundated by tits and asses... we have less gun problems, and noone wants to get involved in a fabricated war...

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (5, Interesting)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731936)

I know this one is going to get me flamed into oblivion, and may even result in a rather authoritative knock on my door tomorrow morning, but I'll not be labeled as an anonymous coward either, so here goes...

Through everything that's gone on, from the constant erosion of our rights, to the outright lies that got us involved in what will be a never-ending war, to the fact that the entire administration has shown time and time again that they couldn't give two shits about what the American people at large think, to the complete and utter disregard Bush has for separation of powers ("signing statements," anyone) the one thing I keep hearing is "support the troops."

Support the troops. Support the troops. Support the troops.

My question is, why are the troops supporting this government? If anyone, anyone has the power to put an end to all of this, it is they. Why hasn't the military staged a coup d'état [wikipedia.org] ? Why haven't the troops themselves simply said "enough is enough?"

The part that angers me the most is that these are the people who put this administration in office. Twice! They are the very same people who are getting completely shafted by this government. And they are the blue-collar workers of America. They are the ones whose sons and husbands and uncles (and daughters and wives and aunts) are being sent off to die in a country that doesn't give a fuck about us.

Was it so important that their neighbors, both of whom happen to be named Jim, shouldn't be allowed to fuck in the privacy of their own home, let alone consider themselves married (which, by the way, is just a word -- just a word) that they're willing to die for it? That they're willing to lose their social security for it? That they're willing force an absolutely abominable national debt on their children, and their children's children, and so on and so forth?

Was it worth it, to make sure that everyone says "the theory of evolution," but simply refers to the opposing viewpoint as "creationism" (shouldn't it be "the theory of creationism")?

And if not, why the hell haven't our troops done something about it?

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732000)

Yes, because military coups always work out so well....

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732106)

Thailand seems to be doing OK so far, as does Fiji...

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (4, Funny)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732092)

Fairly sure that noone's going to knock on your door tomorrow. 'cept maybe some Jehovah's witnesses.
Very few /. people have gotten sent off to Gitmo for talking about hypothetical coups.

Anyway, IANAA(I Am Not An American) but my best guess is that the people who'd organize such a rebellion(generals and such) really aren't getting shafted as badly as you feel you are. They apparently don't feel the noose tightening around their necks, and it probably isn't. Plus even a military coup requires some support from the General Public to be successful. The US citizenry has a boatload of guns, and a fair number of those gun owners really like Bush. It might be sad but based off of my interactions with some of them, and watching your TV it's true.
If They kill off/imprison/whatever Dubya and all the rest of the morons in Washington they're going to worry alot of people that they're losing freedoms. Ignorant though they may generally be, people would probably notice if the government changed hands so drastically down there. They're not noticing these sorts of statements by Gonzales effecting any meaningful changes in the way they live their lives. Now if Gonzales successfully removed the right to eat McDonalds and watch "wrassling" then you might be more likely to see a few hundred thousand nutjobs with a rifle go out for some blood. That sort of shit would be too much :P

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (5, Insightful)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731972)

Because Americans are full of ignorant people who don't really care. The majority of Americans really just don't care and it is sad. America just be called The new Rome. Supply the people with entertainment and people could care less about what is happening at the top.

Re:Why haven't these fascist assholes been impeach (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731992)

Really. Is there a better example of "enemy of the state"? These people are doing more damage by undermining the government than any "enemy combatant".

Lynch him.. (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731714)

seriously, how can you tolerate a US Attorney General who questions such a fundamental right?

This whole "how much damage can he possibly cause in 4 years?" attitude is appalling.

So who does NOT have that Right? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731724)

Fuck just saying that The Constitution does not explicitly grant that Right ... I want to know SPECIFICALLY who does NOT have that Right.

And how in the fuck he gets that from our Constitution.

And why Bush has not fired him for that comment.

Re:So who does NOT have that Right? (5, Insightful)

Twilight1 (17879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731858)

And why Bush has not fired him for that comment.

Because Bush hired him *because* of such attitudes toward the country and its people. After all, to Bush, the Constitution is "just a god damned piece of paper".

These uncivilized people see public policy and people's rights merely as a speed-bump on their road to greed and power.

-Twi

Re:So who does NOT have that Right? (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732056)

After all, to Bush, the Constitution is "just a god damned piece of paper".
It IS just a god damned piece of paper, unless you the people, citizens of the USA, uphold it and force everyone to uphold it, including and especially your president.

Hate to say I told you so (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731732)

I've been thinking for years, that this country is turning into a police state. When 9/11 happened, many people, including myself, saw a clear case of Reichstag burning. Whenener I posted this opinion on this here forum, I was modded as a troll.

This country is slowly turning into Nazi America. History repeats itself... Still think I'm trolling?

Re:Hate to say I told you so (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731860)

More like fascist Italy. Except for teh whole "trains on time" thing. Bush isn't smart enough to be a new Hitler. More like el Duce's idiot cousin. But otherwise you are pretty on target.

That's closer. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731950)

"Nazi" is a particular group with particular views. Bush doesn't hate Jews. He is not a Nazi.

Bush hates the rule of law. He hates having to share power with the other two branches of government.

Bush is a proto-Fascist. He does not care about the Rights of the People if they get in his way of performing his "job" the way he sees fit. To him, the Presidency is above the Law. Fascism is seductive. It promises "safety" and "order". And all it asks is that some people you probably didn't like anyway lose their Rights.

In a Democracy, the President is constrained by the Law. He must choose the courses which achieve the objects WITHOUT violating the Rights of the People. Any of the People. Any of their Rights.

Fascism begins when the efficiency of the Government is more important than the Rights of the People.

Re:Hate to say I told you so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732098)

This country is slowly turning into Nazi America. History repeats itself... Still think I'm trolling?
Yes. If it's turning into Nazi America, why don't you leave? Or do something about it? I'm sure the Jews would have all left Europe if they'd known what was coming.

Here's why you're trolling: Your comment completely lacks any sense of perspective. Our officials, elected and otherwise, make stupid comments all the time. (For some reason, our attorney generals--Reno, Ashcroft, and now Gonzales--seem to make more stupid comments than most, but I digress.) Until we see the Supreme Court agreeing with Mr. Gonzales, I don't think we're on the path down to a fascist regime. Of course, the way the Court's been packed with conservatives in recent years, I wouldn't be as certain of that as I was a decade or two ago.

Anyway... *counts to self* ...two more years...

The trampling of the constitution.... (5, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731734)

Is a favorite pastime of both parties. The feds have been ignoring the constitution since at least FDR's new deal, and some would say the civil war.

If you shout and cheer for the limitless power given by g readings of the interstate commerce clause and the 'general welfare' clause (quip), you're part of the problem. If you think that the constitution wasn't designed to cuff the federal government into a very limited role it's now outgrown, you're part of the problem.

If you have no clue what the 9th and 10th amendments are, and you think the 2nd amendment is outdated or a 'states right' (*snicker), YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

The constitution isn't a salad bar. You don't get to pick and choose. You either respect it, or you don't. If you don't you'll get some programs you like (SS, medicare, HUD, etc) and you'll get some you hate, losing your freedoms all the way.

The government pisses all over the constitution every day because we let it and we elect people who make and deliver on promises that are not within the assigned powers of the federal government.

The constitution isn't a living document. It means what it says, with the meaning that the orginal writers intended. If it's a living document then it can mean anything, and so it basically means nothing. The original intent of the founding fathers is not an arcane secret difficult to divine- they were quite prolific writers and record keepers- go find what else they wrote and their intent will be clear.

You can blame Gonzalez, you can blame Bush, but you really should blame FDR, blame Lincoln, and most of all blame yourself.

If you really want to get picky on the constitution, then the following goes away:

Every state and local gun ban

The department of education, the Department of the Interior, HUD, Social Security, Medicare, and a whole lot of others I don't remember.

You can argue that some of those functions are proper for the federal government to have and in some cases I might agree with you. The fact remains that all of them exist only because 'interstate commerce' now means anything that can conceivably happen in more than one state, and 'general welfare' now means 'welfare for the individual.' We can change the constitution if we think the feds should have more power. We just don't bother.

You bought and paid for this administration's abuses with a million other trespasses you let slide because they made you feel good.

Re:The trampling of the moderation points... (4, Insightful)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731880)

While I believe the views expressed by the above poster are extreme (that's not a comment on their correctness, simply a comment on how they compare to the popular mode of thinking), in no way do I think that the "troll" moderation is fair -- it's a valid opinion, even if you don't agree with it. If I had the mod points...

Re:The trampling of the constitution.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732030)

If you have no clue what the 9th and 10th amendments are, and you think the 2nd amendment is outdated or a 'states right' (*snicker), YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

The constitution isn't a salad bar. You don't get to pick and choose. You either respect it, or you don't. If you don't you'll get some programs you like (SS, medicare, HUD, etc) and you'll get some you hate, losing your freedoms all the way.


To use your example, however, most of the anti-gun people are pretty explicit that they either think the 2nd amendment should be changed, or isn't be properly interpreted. They would certainly like to see the 2nd amendment be overturned by a new amendment, which is the process by which changes should occur.

The danger here is that Bush (et al.) would never explicitly come out and propose overturning the 1st amendment, they feel they can simply handwave it away in the name of national defense. If they explicitly proposed a constitutional amendment that bluntly stated that habeous corpus (for example) could be withheld if the President thinks it's necessary for national security, it would get shot down instantly, but they would never be that explicit in public.

(the capcha is "implicit", which is entertaing)

Re:The trampling of the constitution.... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732032)

Here is a crazy question: why don't you just change the constitution?

Do you have a mechanism for that? In my country it requires 4/5th of parlament's support. What about the USA?

neocons==neofacists (4, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731738)

Do you need it spelled out to you even more plainly than that?

They are the most vile, unamerican, undemocratic power grabbing swine in the nation. More than happy to subvert the constitution for themselves and thier corporate friends. Some of them were even saying how Mossolini wasn't such a bad guy after all. They are more than happy to expend a few trillion dollars and thousands of deaths to prove thier grand geopolitical theorys.

Oh, and I'll be the first to say it: Godwin's Law!

Re:neocons==neofacists (1)

leftistcoast (892576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731750)

I, for one, welcome our habeas corpus denying overlords...

A serious question (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731752)

Does the public have any way to "recall" an Attorney General short of canning the president (which would probably be much harder)? I think I've hit my limit of tolerance for rights erosion.

Re:A serious question (1)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731848)

No. The fact that much of the federal government is no longer directly responsible to its constituents is, in my opinion, the biggest issue facing our nation in the next century. What recourse is there for change? The options are growing smaller slowly and surely.

Re:A serious question (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731904)

If you're a voting American, then you should already know the answer to that question.

If you don't, then that speaks volumes...

Re:A serious question (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732004)

I'm asking whether someone knows (not guesses) whether there is any legal arcana that allows recalling or otherwise dumping appointed officials in the federal branch of the government. Say, a precedent in the past? This doesn't strike me as something generally well informed voters would know. If it is, mea culpa.

Re:A serious question (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731922)

He can be impeached. The public's representatives in congress can remove him from office. Personally I believe Bush, Cheney, Rice, and this attorney general should all be impeached. All of their offenses are quite clear.

Re:A serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731998)

Does the public have any way to "recall" an Attorney General short of canning the president

      I guess you could always shoot him...

These Other Guys Said... (5, Insightful)

Foozy (552529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731772)

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice 1928 Source:dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 479 (1928)

"Men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the executive be under the law."
Justice Robert H. Jackson Source:Sam Ervin, The Whole Truth

"The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism, but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false; for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it, which are necessary to preserve its existence; as has been happily proved by the result of the great effort to throw off its just authority."
Justice David Davis (1815-1886) U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1862-1877 Source: Ex parte Milligan 71 U.S. 2 (1866) DAVIS, J., Opinion of the Court http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/David.Davis.Quote.5879 [liberty-tree.ca] [liberty-tree.ca]

A$$Fucker. (2, Funny)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731774)

Yeah. I'll burn the Karma.

New Yorker Article... (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731788)

Here's a great article [newyorker.com] that explains some of the hypocrisy concerning Senator Arlen Spector and habeas corpus.

Well duh (5, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731792)

In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted.

Of course they're not granted, the government doesn't grant any rights. It can protect or violate them, but not decide that they were not granted to someone.

Re:Well duh (3, Informative)

theCoder (23772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732100)

You're right, and even more so, the constitution of the United States does not regulate the PEOPLE of the United States, it regulates the GOVERNMENT of the United States. And it doesn't regulate it just by saying what it cannot do, it explicitly says what it IS empowered to do. In other words, the (Federal) government can only make laws (restricting the people) if the constitution grants it the power to do so and doesn't forbid it. The constitution grants no rights to the people -- the people are assumed to have all those rights. The constitution merely limits what kinds of laws the government can enact.

For example, there is no federal law setting the minimum drinking age. So, why is there a minimum drinking age in the United States? Because the federal government refuses to give highway money to any state that doesn't set a minimum drinking age of 21. Today, all the states have capitulated, but that does not make it a federal law, because the federal government is not granted that power.

Of course, that doesn't stop legislators from passing all kinds of unconstitutional laws, or even the courts from upholding them (somehow, interstate commerce can be used to justify anything in some judge's minds). But in the end, as you said, the people possess their rights inherently. They are not granted by the government.

Some might argue that the Habeas Corpus is not really a right -- the constitution even calls it a privilege. It is more like a procedure to protect against unlawful imprisonment. Even so, the AG is on thin ice (i.e., full of sh*t), since the constitution says that it shall not be suspended. If the procedure is not allowed, then it is, by definition, suspended.

Re:Well duh (1)

kst (168867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732136)

Of course they're not granted, the government doesn't grant any rights. It can protect or violate them, but not decide that they were not granted to someone.

Yes, that's true; that's the political theory on which the Constitution is based. It's spelled out in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, [...]

I wish I could believe that that's what Gonzalez meant, but his record does not imply that he understands this.

Ammo... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731806)

If this kind of stuff was covered by the mainstream media, I think we'd see a sharp uptick in the sales of ammunition in this county.

Re:Ammo... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731876)

what would that achieve? Will bullets stop what they're doing? They control the fucking ARMY. Do you think some accountants with handguns and no training will be able to do a single paltry thing? Good fucking luck. Poland had a trained, supplied army (with tanks and shit) and that didn't stop the Germans. If a government wants to fuck over a people, whether the people are armed or not just determines how many innocents are killed before the government gets its way. Look at Iraq - everyone has an AK47, and Saddam was in power for decades. When they revolted, tens of thousands died, and Saddam was still in power.

Re:Ammo... (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732128)

You make a large assumption that the US armed forces will fire on its own population unquestioningly.

These aren't the children of WW2 vets who fired on Kent State students. These are the children of Korean and Vietnam vets who know their country's leaders lied to them. These are the children of hippies and Civil Rights activists who taught their children not to trust the government.

I don't think the army would respond well to being ordered to attack its civilian population. Hell, I'd like to see a general today that would do such a thing.

Do you think some accountants with handguns and no training will be able to do a single paltry thing?
You fail to recognize the geopolitics of the situation. You think fighting in Iraq is bad? Try house to house fighting in America. It would be a fucking nightmare. We have youth gangs that shoot each other as rites of passage. We have "militia" groups that play weekend warrior. We have a large police force that wouldn't be so down with getting fired upon by armed forces. We also have a large contingent of people who participate in IDPA type competitions. The US armed forces do not have enough personnel trained in Urban combat to subdue an uprising AND maintain their foreign economic interests.

The US may maintain a force level capable of fighting a 2 front war on foreign soil, but they couldn't maintain it if one front was the home front.

Moo (5, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731814)

Wow, his statement is troubling.

Interestingly enough, it was a Republican, Sen Specter, that challenged him on this. As the article comntinues "Gonzales's remark left Specter, the committee's ranking Republican, stammering."

So, if both parties don't want this, let's hope this guy gets canned, quickly.

Re:Moo (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732006)

You mean the same Arlen Specter that slipped a provision into the Patriot Act at renewal time
that greatly broadened the White House's ability to replace US Attorneys without the consent
of Congress (which they've done quite quickly, replacing longtime attorneys with politically
connected Republicans)? The guy who totally rolled over on the illegal wiretapping program?
That guy?

It's nice that you're so optimistic about the possibility of Republicans acting in the interests
of the nation rather than their party and president. But you're naive if you really expect
anything long term to come of it. After all, 2008 is coming, and it's time to pander to the
fringe.

In Other News... (5, Insightful)

mageofchrisz (836089) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731816)

We're fucked.

Re:In Other News...Update reported on the BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732054)

The rest of the world says..... "DUH"

Most of the planet knew that the US was "fucked" for decades. we were admired for a long time and then slowly we became the global assholes that everyone hates.

Cripes, people like North Korea and China way more than the USA. Canada and Mexico are trying to figure how to get the hell away from us when the big shit hit's the fan.

What went wrong? US citizens. If you are not willing tobe a part of an angry mob, then you deserve to lose all your rights.

Kids risked their lives and LOST their lives protesting the Vietnam war at Ohio State. Today the war protests are no further than a handful listening to a anti-war podcast on their ipods.

America deserves what they get because the people are spineless idiots that like being opressed.

Re:In Other News... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732114)

And in Open Source news, suspending Habeas Corpus could be really bad news for Hans Reiser [wikipedia.org] ...

This bad taste comment was brought to you by Tuesday. It's the second day of the week(tm), unless you're of the opinion the week starts on Sunday, in which case it's the third day of the week.

Why won't neocons strictly interpret... (4, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731840)

...the Constitution? They claim to do that. And if you strictly do that, you realize that the government only has the powers specifically given to it in the Constitution. All other rights and powers go to the people and/or the states. Thus, unless the government is specifically given the power to suspend habeas corpus (which it *is* in limited circumstances), it cannot infringe upon on that right. That right, as specifically protected in the 9th amendment, is not disparaged merely by not being listed.

Now, if one wants to "liberally" interpret the Constitution (e.g., not use a "strict" interpretation), then you could make the argument that Gonzales is making. Of course, no neocon would do that for political gain, nosiree. Yep, they'd strictly interpret the Constitution in all cases.....

Wha? (5, Funny)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731842)

We tried to impeach a president for questionable moral and sexual acts in the oval office. Yet we do nothing with this kind of crap going on?

The world is quickly becoming a place I dont want to bring a child into.

Then again, im posting on slashdot. I dout i'll get the chance. ;)

Re:Wha? (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731866)

See, that's why the world is going down this way. Smart people go "Oh, I shouldn't have kids because the world is going to hell in a handbasket". Dumb people don't care. We're getting outbred! NB: DO NOT USE AS PICKUP LINE!

Re:Wha? (1, Troll)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731906)

I think you meant "America" instead of "The world", fyi.

Re:Wha? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732002)

Troll? The article is about the American Attourney General, not the World's attourney general. Put down your flag and read what I wrote.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732012)

As much as I'd like to see Bush out of power, I'm a bit nervous as to what the result would be. I'm not all that familiar with constitutional law, but I'd hope we'd at least think it through enough to can the entire executive in one blow. After that... what exactly would happen? Would it go to the Democratic leader of the house or senate? Or a national election?

And anyway, I *know* what the republicans would say (at least after the fact).... "dividing the country" "interfering in the war effort" and so on: anything to make it seem like we should have left Bush alone, anything to get another republican in his place.

My dream (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731846)

I'm standing over Mr. Gonzales with a stick in one hand and a copy of the Constitution in the other. And I look at the document and say "Nothing in here says not to whack you, Al."

WHACK!

Then I look at the Constitution again. And I say "Nothing in here says not to whack you again, Al."

WHACK!

This repeats until I wake up.

lincoln... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731854)

uhm, lincoln suspended habeas corpus. What Gonzales said may be outrageous, but it's not unprecedented.

So what (4, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731862)

The Attorney General argues a position that advances the interests of the executive. I by no means support his dumbassed argument, but that's his prerogative. The issue here is what will Congress - that other branch of government we all forget about - do about it? Cut funding to certain programs, refuse to confirm any executive nominees, etc. until the executive renounces its position? Our system breaks down not when one branch takes an outlandish position, but when the other branch fails to call them on it. Presidents and cabinet members will be making dumb decisions for decades to come. What troubles me is that future Congresses will continue the inaction established by the past few Congresses. I'm merely pointing out that our government is failing us in other ways. Please don't misconstrue this as support of the idiotic administration. Hell, the Democrats still won't end the Iraq War because they're afraid a "spin machine" will make them look anti-soldier. Instead they're debating worthless non-binding proclamations - proclamations directed at a president who doesn't care about public or congressional opinion.

O' Reilly did it well... (1)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731898)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=etsQsR9kMl0 [youtube.com] Ain't it sad? I didn't even believe it was real until after I actually checked for footage of the hearing outside of O' Reilly Factor.

So ammend it... (1)

uufnord (999299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731912)

So ammend the Constitution to ensure that we do have the right to habeus corpus, and spell it out in positive language. That's why they're ammendments. Has noone thought of this?

Can you spell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731926)

Fascism?

We dont need a slashdot discussion (3, Insightful)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731934)

Colbert nailed it with his Brady Bunch allusion:

"But you only said I was grounded from driving your car. You didn't say anything else about someone else's car!"

People are really strange. My conservative parents will complain for hours about the mere possibility of the government wasting money on universal health care, but throwing billions of dollars down the drain in Iraq and this kind of nonsense and they will only grudgingly admit "mistakes were made". My theory is that people just like killin' the bad guys so much that they don't see how easy it is for us mistake who the "bad guys" are.

Wasn't Ben Franklin one of the founding fathers? (5, Insightful)

COMICAGOGO (1055066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731938)

He said: "Any society that gives up a little freedom for a little security will lose both and deserve neither." Just thought that might have something to do with what the writers of the constitition had in mind.

Gonzo is anti-american (2, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731944)

Gonzo is a smirking fool. His only concern is protecting the administration and its policies. Constitutional rights and justice mean nothing to him. America will be much better off after he is gone.

Paging Congress, paging Congress! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17731968)

Please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Come on, *somebody* in power should be outraged at this continuing theft of our rights. Make a statement!

Protect and Defend...? (4, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731990)

Isn't _EVERY_ _SINGE_ member of the armed services individually sworn to "protect and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic"? Or is it just the president?

Shouldn't _someone_ be arresting these people by now...? Who does the arresting when the person who is _supposed_ to be doing the arresting is the one that should be arrested?

Yea, I know, slippery slope and all that, but damn, this is sounding a _lot_ like treason (by "pun" or by "confabulation" or some such perversion of the language and with some deliberate mendacity apparent, since nobody can be _THAT_ stupid can they?) executed by or on the behalf of our "elected" leaders.

But they don't exist... thats the problem (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17731994)

freedom to peacably assemble went out when they started requiring permits to protest.

if it were a freedom or right you wouldnt have to get permission to do it.

freedom of speech went down the tubes first.. god knows exactly when, but if you say the wrong thing to or in front of a cop youre gone for at least 24 hours. Say the wrong thing on the internet and the isp will pull your site on bogus TOS issues simply to avoid the headache of defending those rights.

Freedom of religion is also ancient history.. people have been burned at the stake for not being good christians..(christians being the operative word)

somehow.. in all of this.. nazi propaganda is still protected..

is it me or is something seriously wrong here?

what's worse.. the presence of now fallacious words on a 250 or so year old document serves as ammunition to discredit claims to the above.

Non-left wing posts get auto-trolled (0, Troll)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732008)

Seriously, politics should never be discussed on Slashdot as anyone who does not cling to a hard-left viewpoint on EVERY issue is labeled a troll automatically. Seen it too many times here to think otherwise. If you want to discuss politics, goto Fark, as at least there you can't be modded down because you don't have a left-leaning viewpoint/opinion.

except ... (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732080)

the people who are "autotrolled" consider the people in office.. who are actually center-right.. to be "liberals"..

the truth is if you held republicans like ike or even nixon up to scrutiny today, so called "right wingers" would be screaming bloody pinko liberal murder.

Gonzales is Right (5, Insightful)

jhml (95488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732010)

The Constitution grants no rights. Our rights are granted by our Creator, or, if you prefer, by the fact of our humanity.

That isn't wild theorizing. It is solid constitutional law.

For instance, the Constitution provides no right of procreation. Most of us would concede it a right of people. So did the Court when the question arose.

The Consitution does prohibit government from infringing on some of our rights, and it gives Congress some powers to protect others, but it grants no rights by itself.

Habeas corpus additionally is not a "right". It is a procedure to enforce a fundamental right --not to be unjustly imprisoned.

As a procedure it is not self effectuating,. It requires statutory implementation. Over the years Congress has both limited and expanded the procedures governing granting a writ of habeas corpus. So have the courts.

Gonzales could have phrased his answer in a form more pleasing to the public. But he is not just "technically right". He is fundamentally right, and the principle underlying his answer is a greater defense of our liberty than a position that the Constitution is the fount of our rights.

   

Complaining is all fine and good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732028)

At what point do we, as "the people", finally stand up and do something. We have voted. Things may or may not be changing. But where is the public outrage? Where are the public demonstrations? How do we get people motivated to show their outrage in a meaningful, tangible way?

Video (5, Informative)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732040)

See his comments for yourself. This first video [youtube.com] shows the conversation between Sen. Spector and Mr. Gonzales leading up to the comment, this video [youtube.com] shows the reaction from Sen. Spector and Sen. Leahy.

Truly scary stuff. This administration isn't even sticking to conservative values. They've gone off the neo-con deep end.

Does Anybody have a RELIABLE SOURCE??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732050)

I was completely shocked at this, but after some digging I still cannot find a RELIABLE source. As far as I can tell, the reason it has not hit the Mainstream Media is because it appears to be false. Please check your sources (The transcript of Gonzales' testimony is HERE: http://judiciary.senate.gov/testimony.cfm?id=2473& wit_id=3936 [senate.gov] ) There is nothing even close to the "quotes" from the article linked. If someone has an actual source, please inform me. If not, this is nothing more than propaganda by someone with an agenda.

Ummmm... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732082)

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

I would like to know more first (1)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732088)

Some of the legal analysis I've read during the last few years had been really dumb. For example, how is it possible that people captured on the battlefield have any standing in our civilian courts? If they should not in GITMO then let their country ask for their release. This has happened and we have released people from GITMO to their government. Hasn't anyone ever played Capture the Flag?

The reporting on the NSA wiretapping has been horrible. Since when does the NSA need to get a warrant to tap foreign communications? Anyone calling or receiving a call from a *primary* tap target will get their communication listening in on. The NSA will not and should not hang up if the call terminates inside the US.

The reporting on the above examples has been horrible, why should I trust that this article is any better? I would agree that suspending habeas corpus is not a good idea. But the president does have the power to do it. It seems to me that foreign enemies on US soil do not have any right to habeas corpus. Why should they?

The issue seems to be that a recent law was passed that may have opened up the possibility of US Citizens not having the right to habeas corpus. This may or may not be true, but it wasn't the President that was responsible for passing the law, it was both congress and the president!

Other legal considerations by Gonzales (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732104)

1. "The president can order prisoners to be tortured" is not in conflict with the law against torture (geneva conventions)
2. "The president can not be helt responsible for anything he does"
3. It is not torture unless "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions" occurred

I think The administration can ask for anything they want, and Mr. Gonsales will find that it is perfectly legal.

Dumbasses (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732110)

"The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Sounds pretty clear to me. Maybe the Framers didn't think anybody would be stupid enough to say "it doesn't say I have to do this, just that I don't have to not do it", so they didn't explicitly word it out. They'd probably not even conceive of a world in which basic common law is questioned...

Also, it's pretty much irrelevant. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people." The power to have habeas corpus?

Rights granted by a creator (4, Funny)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732122)

I'll pause for a moment and admit that yes, I'm an evangelical Christian, so here is how I view the statement:

In short, I don't agree with Gonzales' assessment because, from what I understand the constitution is a legal and historical document that is predicated upon the earlier work of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration contains the famous central truth statement:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This central truth statement does a number of things but here are a few bullet points:
1. Individual people and their governments are both under the authority of the Creator.

2. This creator has endowed people with "certain unalienable Rights", the use of the word certain is curious because it bolsters the central truth statement (i.e. "I'm certain that this is true") and it limits the number of rights (i.e. "I get paid on a certain day"). The latter is necessary so that we have rule of law, and not rule of might, or money, or power, or intelligence, or whatever is popular at the time.

3. Being unalienable, it is impossible for these rights to be transferred to another either willingly or unwillingly.

4. The undertone to the sentence is confidently foreboding that "if you attempt to take away these rights you are not messing with just men, but with God".

I'm curious what everyone else's take is on these events.

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