Last year, three Supreme Court decisions turned back the administration's boldest positions. Government lawyers do not seem eager to give the justices a vehicle for elaboration, at least not one that involves Jose Padilla, an American citizen captured on American soil.
Mr. Padilla's lawyers filed an appeal in the Supreme Court last month, asking a fundamental question: "Does the president have the power to seize American citizens in civilian settings on American soil and subject them to indefinite military detention without criminal charge or trial?" The administration says there is no need to answer that question just now. President Bush, in a directive signed on Sunday and made public yesterday, ordered the Defense Department, which had been holding Mr. Padilla as an "enemy combatant," to transfer him to the Justice Department "for the purpose of criminal proceedings against him."
That move, the administration says, renders Mr. Padilla's appeal to the Supreme Court moot.
The Supreme Court has already accepted one case this month concerning the scope of the president's power to fight terror. That one involves whether he has the authority to try detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for terrorist offenses before military commissions there. The administration had vigorously urged the court not to hear the case.
The above is from Adam Liptak's "Still Searching for a Strategy Four Years After Sept. 11 Attacks" in this morning's New York Times. Eli, Brenda, Susan and Marcia picked it for this morning's spotlight article in the paper. Markus also noted it and wondered why there wasn't a companion article entitled "Still Searching for Answers Four Years After Sept. 11 Attacks"?
Lloyd e-mailed to note Matthew Rothschild's "Thank You, John Murtha" (This Just In, The Progressive):
But let's be clear: The Iraq war was unpopular even before Murtha took his stance. And it would have kept trending downward, but it will do so more quickly now, since he has put his hawkish face of respectability squarely on the anti-war side. That doesn't mean U.S. troops will come home within a year's time, though.
Bush has trapped himself with his own rhetoric of "total victory" and "finishing the job." And then, of course, there's Cheney and Rumsfeld who still want that oil and those military bases.
The question is, how long can Bush, and Cheney, and Rumsfeld defy a majority of the American public and an increasingly restive Congress?
If we keep the heat on Congress, those troops may get out of there yet.
One final thing: While Murtha is not the bastard child of Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan, as some of Bush's attack dogs snarled, it is gratifying that Murtha is making some of the very arguments that the peace movement has been advancing all along.
Bernado sent an intended laugh for the day with he note not to link. I won't. It's how many days since Judith Miller left the Times and someone's "all on it" as Bernado writes but cat has the tongue on Woodward. The article wants corrections from the Times which is something I can support. Of facts. The author also wants opinions corrected. Lots of luck there. But it was laughable and Bernado's going to go through it ("paragraph by paragraph") in Friday's the gina & krista roun-robin. They are scaling back this edition, due to the holidays. But they'll each have a column and I'll try to write something for it as well. Beth notes "I am not on holiday! I am never on holiday! Being the ombudsperson is hard work!" So look for her latest as well and there will be a roundtable though Gina and Krista are still trying to pull together people for that (takes place tonight, so members who run sites and those who don't, if you're interested, e-mail them). Elaine and I have already said we'll participate and Jim's on board as well.
Don't forget to check out Democracy Now! today.
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