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Monday, July 7, 2008

Local lawyers criticize 'Boumediene' ruling

Two local lawyers -- Larry Purdy and Ryan Check -- take issue with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees in an opinion piece published in this week's Minnesota Lawyer. ("‘Boumediene v. Bush’: Judicial arrogance writ large?")

Here's an excerpt from the commentary to give you a flavor of it:

Loosely translated from the original Latin, a writ of habeas corpus directs
the government to “deliver the body” of a person wrongfully detained. With a
historical framework stretching back centuries to the English Magna Carta, the
writ’s grand purpose under our Constitution is to limit the government’s power
over its citizens by protecting Americans from illegal arrest or indeterminate

Now, however, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision
in Boumediene v. Bush, this great principle — which undoubtedly has helped
secure the blessings of liberty for “We the People” — has inexplicably been
extended to foreign enemy combatants captured and detained outside the United
States at the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. By opening the doors
of our federal courthouses to our foreign enemies, the court has, in essence,
converted the vicious war being waged against America and her allies — to date
resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans, both civilian and military —
into something more akin to a global police action; and in the process, has
opted to offer the same habeas corpus rights afforded to Americans under our
Constitution to foreign terrorists bent on our destruction. (Click
here for more

It's been an interesting term for the high court -- particularly in the last few weeks. The court managed to get conservatives angry with Boumediene, liberals angry with (well, take your pick, but for now we'll say ...) its gun-ban ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller and even the usually buttoned-down Faegre & Benson (and not to mention some Alaskan fishermen) hot under the collar with its punitive-damages ruling in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker.


Anonymous said...

We "opted to offer the same habeas corpus rights afforded to Americans under our
Constitution to foreign terrorists bent on our destruction."

Heck yeah. That's what makes us better than them, and not just another bunch of terrorists.

Anonymous said...

But if they weren't "foreign terrorists bent on our destruction," they wouldn't be in Guantanamo in the first place, right? Didn't we all learn in law school that if someone was arrested, it must mean they're guilty?