In Session Anchor
A federal judge has ordered the immediate release of five Algerian prisoners from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The men have been held there for nearly seven years and the ruling is an indictment of Bush administration policies that led it to sweep up innocent men along with hardened terrorists in the so-called war on terror. And this judge, Judge Richard Leon, is no liberal apologist for Al Qaeda. This is a judge appointed by President Bush. And the administration fully expected him to rule otherwise.
But a judge, whatever his political stripes, is still a judge. And this one rightly found that seven years of waiting for our legal system to charge anyone, even GITMO detainees, is enough. The justice department has not said whether it will appeal. But of course, a whole lot is about to change at justice with a new attorney general coming to town, and a president-elect who has vowed to close GITMO once and for all.
When he does, the camp will go down in history as a sad reminder of what happens when mistakes are made at the highest levels of our government, and no one has the courage to acknowledge it.
Editors note: See more of Jami’s posts at the In Session Blog.
Our Founding Fathers established a unique govermental arrangement for which our nation's democracy was to be carried out in adherence to the US Constitution. This arrangement included the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial branches of government, each with their distinctive role and responsibilities with each branch functioning as a "checks and balances" on the other as the rule of law.
Under the Bush adminstration there has been such an infringement of the Executive Branch's role with regards to both the Legislative and Judicial Branches of government on both a federal and state level. Such examples include the decision to declare war in Iraq with the misrepresentation of CIA intelligence to Congress, the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and the illegal detentions at Guantanamo Bay Prison, the highly controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act which included illegal wire-tapping of US citizens, the highly questionable firings of US attorneys, the infringement of States Rights notably in regards to the civil liberties of gay Americans, the governmental intervention regarding a highly publicized right to die case in Florida, and a clear disregard for upholding the Separation of Church & State in the devisement of govermental policy. Historians may even include the unprecendented contentious outcome of the 2000 Florida Presidential election which was settled in the US Supreme Court.
Most recently, California courts agreed to hear a challenge to Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage. The question before the court asks if Proposition 8 is an amendment to California's Constitution or a revision. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom told CNN's Anderson Cooper that if Proposition 8 is a revision to the Constitution it would mean that the courts no longer had a role in determining if the rights of minorities had been violated.
"Should we go in front of the voters every time there is an adjudication in the courts that we don't like and submit the rights of minorities to the whims of the majority, based upon the morality of the day?" asked Newsom. "That's what's happened here in California."
Newsom argued, "Well, what's next? I mean, now, if this is the basis of principle, what other rights should we take away? And is the court powerless in each and every case when the voters by a majority decide to change the constitution, again based upon the issue of the day?"
The balance of power of each branch of governemnt, whether on a state or federal level, much be upheld to the written laws of the US Constitution. It's time for a President Obama and Vice-President Biden who taught Contitutional Law to be our nation's next leaders. God Bless America
So, where are the two released "detainees" at this point in time?
I do not want to seem inhospitable, but I hope they return home soon.
They will only encounter suspicion and distrust here.
Of course mistakes were made George Bush is in charge and called the shots.
YEAH............ for instance, torture! Throwing the Geneva Convention out, and dismissing our Constitution for starters!
It's insane to know that these men were held for 7 years without any charges against them – were they to stay there forever? I'm sure they couldn't even receive legal representation either. What other civil rights violations will we learn about Gitmo once Bush is out of office?
The sooner this suppurating sore on the face of the USA can be healed, the sooner the USA can look the civilised world in the eye again.
From a non-American perspective, the 'Mistake' of Guantanamo Bay is way up there, in the Top Five Reasons Why the USA Has No Moral High Ground.
Come to that, I felt the same way when I lived in the USA, before 2006.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with AC361°