The Bush Assministration lost two court cases today, first on the issue of the indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” without charges in a federal appeals court

In a stinging rejection of one of the Bush administration’s central assertions about the scope of executive authority to combat terrorism, a federal appeals court ordered the Pentagon to release a man being held as an enemy combatant.

“To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote, “even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country.”

“We refuse to recognize a claim to power,” Judge Motz added, “that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

And secondly, a rare unanimous decision in the Supreme Court regarding our environment.

The Supreme Court strengthened a landmark anti-pollution program Monday, enabling companies to recover costs when they voluntarily clean up hazardous material.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices said the federal Superfund law allows lawsuits to recover costs incurred in voluntary cleanups. The Bush administration had argued otherwise.

Sucks to be you.

6 thoughts on “Looser!1!!!

  1. The ruling on indefinite detention is by far the most important of these. The judges reached the same conclusion that any thinking person reached when this was first revealed to be our national policy. In fact this was so blatant a violation of the Constitution that it by itself justifies impeachment of Bush. It is also a violation of the Geneva Conventions, so it also justifies a war crimes trial.

  2. Is there any possibility that I can dream in my wildest dreams that this ruling could be expanded to apply to the thin veil extended by holding people on a chunk of land that we continue to hold onto in Cuba (not in Cuba so not under Cuban law. Not under anyone else so not under their law. Not in the 50 states, so not under US law)…

  3. Actually, MapleStreet, I just finished reading the 86 page decision, and it is VERY narrowly constructed, as a good appellate decision should be.
    Basically the key point is that Al-Marri was a legal alien with substantial ties to this country and therefore had a Constitutional right to habeas corpus. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether aliens captured on a battlefield outside the country, or held outside the country, are entitled to the constitutional right of habeas corpus, but a citizen and an alien who’s lawfully here and who has substantial ties to the country has a constitutional right to habeas corpus.
    The other important holding was the distinction of civilians from combatants, legal or otherwise. And, to my thinking, the most important thing the Court held was that the president cannot, by executive fiat, turn a civilian into a combatant by signing a document calling him an illegal combatant.
    That’s what went on here: this man was being charged in criminal court with a variety of things (not terrorism, interestingly enough, but what sounded like fraud charges of various sorts). As soon as he made a motion to suppress his statements based on claims that they were the result of torture (!!), the feds came in, declared him an illegal combatant, dismissed the cases in criminal court and locked him up under military jurisdiction. For the first year he was held completely incommunicado — couldn’t talk to his wife, his children, his lawyer or anyone — and it was only after a lawyer on his behalf challenged his being held in military custody that the government came up with a document alleging ties between Al-Marri and Al-Qaeda, including charges that he was a sleeper agent sent to the U.S. for a suicide mission (he wasn’t charged in criminal court with anything like that — keep that in mind). There was no allegation that he had ever been in Afghanistan during the U.S. war with the Taliban, or that he had ever taken up arms in any way, shape or form, but the Justice Department claimed that he was an enemy combatant anyway.
    The court rejected the AUMF argument, and rejected the argument that Bush has inherent power to declare a civilian an enemy combatant. And basically they did a smack down of the “reasoning” the Justice Department used — very careful and formal, but a definite smackdown recognizable by anyone who’s used to reading judicial prose.

  4. Not that I haven’t already gone on too long about that case, but the scariest thing in the decision was the suggestion by Al-Marri that the reason the government put him in military custody was so that they could use interrogation means that would not be permitted in civilian court. The Circuit court, in a footnote, said that they would be appalled if this were true, and then noted some evidence that this might in fact be what the government was doing — at one point Ashcroft said that Al-Marrie needed to be militarily detained because he was being too stubborn and refusing the leniency that he would have received if he’d been more cooperative in his interrogations (this is a paraphrase).
    As soon as I read that, I immediately figured that Al-Marri was telling the truth; isn’t that just what the Bush Administration would do?

  5. Just a correction: It doesn’t “suck to be Bush”. He done been *ELECTORATED*, He don’t give a shit if the “little people” don’t like him. His constituents — the haves and the have-mores — just *love* him, because he’s opened the wallets of government (your wallet and my wallet) for them to loot all the moolah they want out of it. Short of impeachment, the man is gonna go to bed for the next year and a half smiling. Taking the rest of the Republican Party down with him, but what the fuck does he care about that, anyhow?
    -Badtux the Rude Penguin

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