Thursday, June 29, 2006

Some Good News, For A Change

Well crap. Just when I was used to getting depressed about things, the Supreme Court had to go ruin my funk. In a 5-3 decision, SCOTUS ruled that the military tribunals at Gitmo are illegal, that the president's authority in war is not all-encompassing, and even more suprisingly, the supremes brought in that bogeyman, international law!!!, into the equation.
Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.
Boy, if this ruling is applied consistently (i.e., holding the actions of the executive to the standards of treaties signed by the President and ratified by the Senate) this could be a really, really important ruling.

The question is whether or not Bush obeys the courts anymore. Congress has basically been neutered, why shouldn't the SC be next?

1 comment:

Joshua Kubinec said...

Does this mean we can charge him with war crimes yet?