Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Obama The Obtuse

Jake Tapper has a whopper of a gaffe from the gaffe-meister. It seems that Senator Obama believes that the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had habeas corpus rights:

At a town hall meeting in Wayne, Pa., today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., embraced an issue hardly made for his own TV ads: the rights of detainees accused of terrorism.

"I think we should make it an issue," Obama said, referring to the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision in
Boumediene et al v Bush "that said we are going to live up to our ideals when it comes to rule of law.

Basically what it said was those prisoners that we hold in Guantanamo deserve to be able to go before a court and say, “It wasn’t me” or “I didn’t do it.”

a former senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, cited "that principle of habeas corpus, that a state can't just hold you for any reason without charging you and without giving you any kind of due process -- that’s the essence of who we are. I mean, you remember during the Nuremberg trials, part of what made us different was even after these Nazis had performed atrocities that no one had ever seen before, we still gave them a day in court and that taught the entire world about who we are but also the basic principles of rule of law. Now the Supreme Court upheld that principle yesterday."

(Though Obama was clearly referring to the principle of giving criminals a day in court, it's worth pointing out the distinction here, that the Nuremberg trials did not give Nazi war criminals access to U.S. courts, but to a special
international military tribunal created by the U.S., USSR, France and the U.K. Though Nuremberg currently is considered a model for international law, it's not as if Rudolph Hess had access to challenge his detention in U.S. federal court.)

Senator Obama should know the difference between habeas corpus rights (the writ that allows a person to seek relief from unlawful detention) and the Sixth Amendment (which guarantees the right to a fair and speedy trial). It should be noted that we did not grant the Nazis Sixth Amendment protections, but rather gave them their fair tribunal to determine the level of their guilt or innocence concerning war crimes.

Above all, none of them were given habeas rights. Just as Senator Obama misses the point, so did the Supreme Court. Habeas rights apply only to United States citizens. The Constitution was not created to cover everyone under the sun; it was made for this nation and its citizens only. In 232 years never have we bestowed our rights on enemy combatants, be they illegal or not. Boumediene was a gross miscarriage of jurisprudence. (Note to readers, that will be the focus of our next column on July 1st.) The Supreme Court's insane decision has once again thrust the issue of judges appointed by the president to the forefront of this election.

Later in the post made by Mr. Tapper, Senator Obama observes that Justice Stevens (he does guess at the 88 year old jurists age, and gets it wrong three times) is getting up their in age, and is likely to retire soon. For Senator Obama, that is a scary prospect because, you guessed it, Roe v. Wade would supposedly be in jeopardy. There will come a day where Roe is overturned, and the States will have their fair say in that issue. I sincerely doubt it will come in my lifetime, and by default, in Thomas's lifetime, but it will happen.

Senator Obama has made a serious gaffe in this assumption today, but it goes further than just misrepresenting the Nazi's trials at Nuremberg. This goes to his judgment regarding the law itself. We are a nation that lives by the rule of law, and Senator Obama continually shows that he does not understand it, nor does he know it as well as he claims.



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