Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NYT: "Judge Orders U.S. to Supply Prisoner Names" (Julia Preston)

A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to release the names and nationalities of hundreds of prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rejecting the government's argument that it would be a violation of their privacy and expose them to retaliation by terrorist groups.
[. . .]
Last year, the Pentagon released the transcripts of 558 tribunals but blacked out the names and other basic identifying information about the prisoners. In his new ruling, which he described as "final," Judge Rakoff ordered the Defense Department to turn over "unredacted copies" of the transcripts to the news agency.

The above is from Julia Preston's "Judge Orders U.S. to Supply Prisoner Names" in this morning's New York Times. Kansas noted it and urges everyone to consider how a Supreme Court Justice Alito might vote on this? Would he side with the federal court or with his Bully Boy? Something to think about today as the Senate prepares to vote today.

From January 22nd, here's Robert Parry's "Alito Filibuster: It Only Takes One" (Consortium News):

With the fate of the U.S. Constitution in the balance, it's hard to believe there's no senator prepared to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose theories on the "unitary executive" could spell the end of the American democratic Republic.
If confirmed, Alito would join at least three other right-wing justices -- John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- who believe that George W. Bush should possess near total control of the U.S. government during the ill-defined War on Terror. If Anthony Kennedy, another Republican, joins them, they would wield a majority.
Alito’s theory of the "
unitary executive" holds that Bush can cite his "plenary" -- or unlimited -- powers as Commander in Chief to ignore laws he doesn't like, spy on citizens without warrants, imprison citizens without charges, authorize torture, order assassinations, and invade other countries at his own discretion.
"Can it be true that any President really has such powers under our Constitution?" asked former Vice President Al Gore in a Jan. 16
speech. "If the answer is 'yes,' then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited?"
The answer to Gore's final rhetorical question would seem to be no, there is nothing prohibited to Bush. The "unitary executive" can assert authoritarian -- even dictatorial -- powers for the indefinite future.
Under this government envisioned by Alito and Bush, Americans would no longer have freedoms based on the Constitution and the law, but on Bush's tolerance and charity. Americans would, in essence, become Bush's subjects dependent on his good graces, rather than citizens possessing inalienable rights. He would be a modern-day king.
In the face of such an unprecedented power grab, Americans might expect senators from both parties to filibuster Alito and resist Bush's consolidation of power. But Republicans seem more interested in proving their loyalty to Bush, and Democrats so far are signaling only a token fight for fear of suffering political reprisals.
A meeting of the Democratic caucus on Jan. 18 to discuss Alito drew only about two dozen senators out of a total of 45. The caucus consensus reportedly was to cast a "strategic" -- or a symbolic -- vote against Alito so they could say "we-told-you-so" when he makes bad rulings in the future. [See NYT, Jan.19, 2006]
But it's unclear why voters would want to reward Democrats for making only a meaningless gesture against Alito, rather than fighting hard to keep him off the court. An extended battle also would give them a chance to make their case about why they see Alito as a threat to the U.S. Constitution.

"It only takes one." Which makes the John Kerry e-mail ("join me") suspect if he's not willing to filibuster. If he's ready to filibuster if needed, my apologies but a number of members have forwarded the e-mail. "Join me," sign the petition, convince your senators to vote no . . . . And no mention of "filibuster." Seems a little half-assed to me at this point if you can't even say the word "filibuster."

Here's the e-mail:

I've studied Judge Alito's legal record. I met with him one-on-one. After all this, I am left with one simple conclusion: if Judge Alito becomes Supreme Court Justice Alito, he will move the Court backwards.
I will vote against Judge Alito's confirmation, and I hope a majority of Senators choose to join us on the Senate floor, voting and speaking out against him. I know we face tough odds, but this is an important fight.
The bottom line is Judge Alito cannot be trusted on the Supreme Court. We can't trust him to stand up to government abuse of power. We can't trust him to ensure all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law. We can't trust him to protect our right to privacy. We can't trust him to defend mainstream American values.
To muster enough Senators to defeat Judge Alito, the American people have to make it clear that they are against his nomination. That's where you come in. By speaking out, you will help us convince other Senators to join our fight.
Stand with us today against Judge Alito
If you want to understand why Americans don't want Judge Alito on the Supreme Court, just take a look at his record. It paints a disturbing picture.
When it comes to standing up to the abuse of executive power and protecting our right to privacy, he barely has a record. Judge Alito refused to hold the government accountable for excessive force when an unarmed boy was shot and killed, or when an innocent 10 year old girl was strip-searched.
In a speech in 2000, Judge Alito even endorsed a theory suggesting that independent agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which holds companies responsible for making products safe for kids, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which stands up to corporate abusers like Enron, are unconstitutional infringements on the President's power.
With this record, how can we expect Alito to stand up to the President when he breaks the law to eavesdrop on American citizens or authorizes the torture of detainees?
Judge Alito's record on civil rights is no better. He saw no legitimate question of discrimination in allowing an all-white jury to sentence a black man to death for killing a white man. His own colleagues have criticized him for ignoring employees' rights to be free from job discrimination. Judge Alito's clear bias is to keep victims of discrimination out of the court system - and to rule in favor of corporate interests.
Judge Alito's record on privacy rights is worst of all. In 1985, Judge Alito actually wrote a memo outlining a strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade by slowly chipping away at its protections. That same year, Judge Alito wrote in a job application that he did not believe in the constitutionality of the right to privacy. Judge Alito's views on privacy rights are not ambiguous; they are openly hostile.
Stand with us today against Judge Alito
Your voice is essential in this fight.
We have no reason to be hesitant in fighting to keep Samuel Alito off the Supreme Court. None of our fears are based on inference, speculation or assumption. His record speaks for itself -- and it speaks on behalf of extreme ideology and powerful corporations -- not the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.
To join this fight, please sign our letter. When I go down to the Senate floor to speak out against Judge Alito, I'll enter your name in opposition to Alito into the Congressional Record as well. And I'll show my Senate colleagues that as far as the American people are concerned, this is not some inside the beltway conversation; this is a landmark struggle for the future of our nation.
Please join us in this fight for our most cherished rights and freedoms.
John Kerry

But, if necessary, will you filibuster? The word's not even in there. Why? And how hard it is to say when you've written everything else that's in the e-mail?

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.