Friday, January 19, 2007

Legal Wordsmithing From Hell

Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General of the United States, sitting in Congress yesterday.
Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?

Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

From mcjoan at Daily Kos, a reminder of what the Constitution does say about habeus corpus.
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.

This is about protecting people from unlawful imprisonment. Americans feel they are protected from being snatched off the street and held without charges, without representation, without release. The Constitution seems to guarantee it.

But the Attorney General is looking at it a different way. He's saying, nothing in the Constitution actually says you have that protection. It only says it can't be suspended. And of course, it really can't be suspended if it doesn't exist in the first place.

I don't think Congress wants to impeach the President. They don't want Satan in the driver's seat, for one thing, and they don't want to ripen an incumbent for the next election. But this administration is going to force them to do something. This interpretation of the Constitution is unheard-of, it's preposterous, and it's extremely dangerous.

(Crooks and Liars has video HERE.)

17 Comments:

Blogger Theresa said...

The key word there is CITIZEN, Jim
The Guatanamo Bay prisoners are NOT CITIZENS.

They are terrorists.

And if the crazy loons on the left get the terrorists released... they might hurt us again.

Why is that so difficult to understand ?

January 20, 2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read a detail recently of how cushy life is on this detention center in the Carribbean. The detainees' lawyers complain that the prisoners are fed too much food and sit in La-z-boy recliners during interrogations (really).

January 20, 2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said, "The key word there is CITIZEN"

"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."

Where is that keyword, Theresa?

PTA

January 20, 2007 2:00 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Ignoring for now the fact that the people incarcerated at Guantanamo are not shown to be "terrorists" or dangerous in any way...

Gonzales said the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen... He's not talking about Guantanamo, he's talking about you and me.

JimK

January 20, 2007 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an unofficial transcription from an unidentified (more than likely unreliable source) of a conversation that is in the hole unavailable. What exactly am I suppose to think of it not much The fact that anyone would have a comment on this is foolish this may only be an exchange of peripheral information to the larger discussion and might be a total misrepresentation of the conversation.
In other words typical of the garbage I see on TTF

January 21, 2007 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"This is an unofficial transcription from an unidentified (more than likely unreliable source) of a conversation that is in the hole unavailable."

Jim provided a clickable link (the word "HERE" at the bottom of his blog) which you apparently didn't bother to use. Had you clicked on it, you might have learned that it links to a clip of the C-SPAN 3 coverage (that has been put on line at Crooks and Liars) of Gonzales's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 18, 2007.

But by all means, don't let the facts get in your way.

What should you think of it? I offer some food for thought:

Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus

By Robert Parry
January 19, 2007

In one of the most chilling public statements ever made by a U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales questioned whether the U.S. Constitution grants habeas corpus rights of a fair trial to every American.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

Gonzales continued, “The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended” except in cases of rebellion or invasion.

“You may be treading on your interdiction of violating common sense,” Specter said.

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 also don’t exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative.

For instance, the First Amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Applying Gonzales’s reasoning, one could argue that the First Amendment doesn’t explicitly say Americans have the right to worship as they choose, speak as they wish or assemble peacefully. The amendment simply bars the government, i.e. Congress, from passing laws that would impinge on these rights...


http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/011807.html

January 21, 2007 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you have the hole transcript. Post it. if you don't, than you do not know what you are talking about.

January 21, 2007 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You take a little soud bit and act like this is the hole conversation. give me a break you all can not be this foolish.

January 21, 2007 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSPAN - Senate Oversight Hearing on the Justice Department (01/18/2007): http://tinyurl.com/e6a8e

January 21, 2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I can't get that to play in my web browser -- is it some special format?

JimK

January 21, 2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Warning, facts ahead said...

I don't know about the format Jim. RealPlayer plays the CSPAN video.

Here's a bit more of the transcript of the interaction between Gonzales and Senator Specter provided by ThinkProgress:

"SPECTER: Where you have the Constitution having an explicit provision that the writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended except for rebellion or invasion, and you have the Supreme Court saying that habeas corpus rights apply to Guantanamo detainees — aliens in Guantanamo — after an elaborate discussion as to why, how can the statutory taking of habeas corpus — when there’s an express constitutional provision that it can’t be suspended, and an explicit Supreme Court holding that it applies to Guantanamo alien detainees.

GONZALES: A couple things, Senator. I believe that the Supreme Court case you’re referring to dealt only with the statutory right to habeas, not the constitutional right to habeas.

SPECTER: Well, you’re not right about that. It’s plain on its face they are talking about the constitutional right to habeas corpus. They talk about habeas corpus being guaranteed by the Constitution, except in cases of an invasion or rebellion. They talk about John Runningmeade and the Magna Carta and the doctrine being imbedded in the Constitution.

GONZALES: Well, sir, the fact that they may have talked about the constitutional right to habeas doesn’t mean that the decision dealt with that constitutional right to habeas.

SPECTER: When did you last read the case?

GONZALES: It has been a while, but I’ll be happy to — I will go back and look at it.

SPECTER: I looked at it yesterday and this morning again.

GONZALES: I will go back and look at it. The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —

SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —

SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.

GONZALES: Um."


http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/19/gonzales-habeas/

When you go to that ThinkProgress URL, you will find both the transcript and the corresponding portion of the video. You can hear them discuss habeas corpus while you read along with the transcript.

January 22, 2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is still not the hole transcript its just a larger sound bite.

January 23, 2007 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is what Alberto Gonzales said and this is what it says in the The United States Constitution Article One, Section 9 which states:

“ 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.

Specter must be smoking dope. not every individual in the united states is a citizen there are spys diplomats and they are not subject to habeas corpus so what is your point.

January 23, 2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, this isn't very hard. Gonzales said: the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.”

Americans since the time that the Constitution was written had interpreted it as saying that we do have the right of habeus corpus. Gonzales says it's not in there.

I think the reason that doesn't shock you is that you don't understand what it means. He isn't just talking about aliens, he said "or every citizen."

JimK

January 23, 2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.”
this is the truth you just can't handle the truth.

January 23, 2007 8:29 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, the idea that the constitution would talk about the privilege of habeas corpus and that that would not apply to any individual or citizen is absurd. Clearly the privilege must apply to SOMEONE or it wouldn't be mentioned at all.

January 24, 2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:38 PM  

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