POTUS to SCOTUS: Screw You
Nice work again, Bush. The justices of the Supreme Court of the United States in their collective wisdom make a ruling that does not support your policies and you tell them, basically, to go jump in a lake. Here's the comment I read attributed to you: “To the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so.” Now I'm no legal expert, but this sounds like a familiar attitude, Bush. What I'm hearing is, I'll obey the law… so long as it doesn't stand in my way. And if it does, I'll have it changed to suit me.
We've heard this from you before, have we not? What was the phrase for that nice piece of legal trickery you use when you sign a bill into law? The one that allows you to interpret the law to mean anything you want it to mean? Ah, yes. "Signing statements." We talked about these back in May, if you remember. From my admittedly inexpert point of view. Back then it was reported that you had used this subterfuge no less than 750 times--more than any other president in history. By now, perhaps, more. To the extent to which… [it meets with our imperial pleasure] … we will comply. Some cheek, Bush! I wonder what Their Honors have to say when you come back at them with this. Or do they, like the congress and the media, just roll over? Clarence Thomas, a dissenter along with Scalia and your new guy, Alito, opined that the decision "flouts our well-established duty to respect the executive's judgment in matters of military operations and foreign affairs." It would seem to me that the jutices' "duty to respect" would last only so long as the executive's judgment proved sound and fair within the law.
And of course, as is your custom, you could not resist grabbing a good bit of political advantage at the same time. “The American people," you added, "need to know that the ruling, as I understand it, won’t cause killers to be put out on the street." Shades of Willie Horton, Bush! The club your good old Dad used to clobber Michael Dukakis, way back then. And here's the redoubtable George Junior raising the same specter of letting killers out on the streets to slaughter innocent Americans, taking a brave stand to prevent those disreputable and thoughtless Supreme Court Justices from recklessly exposing the American people to harm.
So for now, according to your people, this judgment is a mere technicality to be swept away as soon as possible. Already you are devising a strategy to avoid making any change in the objectionable policy and the imperious presidential attitude it embodies. Instead you plan to address what you see to be a mere legal technicality by getting your compliant Congress to change the law to make it legal!
For how much longer can you continue thumbing your nose at the rest of the world and get away with it, Bush? At what point do we all rise up and say NO to disgraces like Guantanamo? The suspension of basic human rights is not what America is all about. The rule of law is fundamental to the democracy that you so earnestly tout, and no one is entitled to take the law into their own hands, not even--in all your post-9/11 posturing as the "war president" charged with the onerous task of "protecting the American people"--not even your good self.