Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Hamdan Ruling Is a Major Slapdown for King Dubya
The Hamdan ruling does more than require the Bush regime to comply with the Geneva Conventions. As SCOTUSblog explains, it also specifies that
the President's conduct is subject to the limitations of statute and treaty.Bush's claim that his role of Commander in Chief during wartime puts him above the law just got shot down. So, what about all those "signing statements" in which he claimed exceptions and exemptions from the laws Congress passed? I'm thinking they're just as unconstitutional as his dismissal of the Geneva Conventions.
Yes, three traditional Republicans saw the dangerous power the executive has accumulated. But this is a microcosm of the GOP: four-sevenths totalitarian, three-sevenths conservative.
Unless things change radically, and soon, the extremists will be the majority.
Would they be able to backtrack fast enough and not-completely-obviously enough?
(Of course, the correct answer is that they have no intention of ever letting the Democrats retake the White House, and they're buffering the impact of Democrats retaking Congress)
It's like Plessy, which legitimized separate but equal. Generations went by, the South got over the Civil War more or less, African Americans started to rise to positions of prominence... but the Plessy decision acted as a defense against fundamental change for almost seventy years.
Eventually, precedent gets swept away by social change. A reactionary ruling like Plessy becomes so offensive that the society turns against those who use it.
But I think the damage to the legal system from Bush v. Gore is so serious that the legal system will never recover. The Court essentially denied that the law exists by declaring that the case could never be used as a precedent.
Sometimes, the slate becomes so polluted that it must be wiped clean. I fear that the Rehnquist-Roberts Court has done that.
More blogs about politics.