Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hamdan V. Rumsfeld, Secretary Of Defense

Hamdan V. Rumsfeld, Secretary Of Defense

Text of the Supreme Court Judgement is here [HAMDAN v. RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PDF]

Hamdan is a "follow up" to the Court's rejection of the Bush Administration's claim argument two years ago that it had the authority to seize and detain those it suspected of being terrorists denying them access to courts or lawyers.

Hamdan deals with the issue of trials for some of the men.

A quick read* of the judgement raises an interesting question. Of the prisioners held by the US whom it brings to trial by whom are they to be tried and under what rules? It seems to me that any "evidence" obtained in Guantanamo is now completely inadmissible

Another question is what is the scope of this judgement? At first reading it seems to reject Bush/Cheney adminstration's argument that it has been granted implicit authority by congress to act as it sees fit, for example warrantless wire tapping.

Scalia J, Thomas J, Alito J dissenting, Roberts CJ, recused.

* I am not an American lawyer and the jurisprudential basis of the legal system which I am qualified to discuss is different to that of the USA system. The matters arising from the judgement in my mind therefore are those which occur to a reasonably well-informed laywoman when it comes to US law.

It seems to me that the Bush/Cheney admininstration adopted this course of action as a panic measure to be seen to be doing something for political reasons rather than for any real security reasons and that having chosen to flout the law they saw no alternative but to continue down the disastrous path they had chosen. It also seems to me that the recent UK judgements (same disclainer) present the Blair government with similiar problems.

Terrorism is - should be - a matter of policing not the excuse used by an authoritarian government to overthrow the law.


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