On July 4, 1776, fifty-six men pledged their “lives, liberty and sacred honor” to secure the blessings of liberty for you and me. Since then millions of men and women have faced the horrors of war on every continent of the world to preserve those liberties. Over one-and-a-half million have given their lives in the process. How many of these hard-earned rights are we willing to surrender in the aftermath of the November elections? That is the question American voters will be forced to answer in the coming election.
The fact that many of the liberties which we have left will be lost during the next administration, regardless of how we vote, is self-evident. Under a McCain administration major segments of our economy will be socialized, if he is successful in getting his agenda implemented. Energy, automobile manufacturing, and much of our financial system has been targeted by McCain to be brought under government bureaucratic control.
Obama promises to go even further. In addition to tightening government control over the economy, his agenda would extend into health care and national defense as well. The constitutional ability of the President, as Commander In Chief, to direct the military in time of war would be curtailed and large segments given over to the confused and contradictory policies of Congress and the courts.
In addition to the wholesale decimation of our Constitution promised by both McCain and Obama, the election of Obama could easily result in changing our form of government from a constitutional republic to an oligarchy ruled by a liberal/socialist majority in the Supreme Court. All that is needed is the addition of one more liberal/socialist Justice and the transformation becomes complete.
At the present time the court is made up of nine Justices, four of which do not hesitate to usurp the constitutional powers of the administrative and legislative branches of government and engage in the practice of “legislating from the bench”, making laws in keeping with their own political agenda. Another four Justices make a valiant effort to support and defend the Constitution, as their oath of office demands. However, they are often overruled by the ninth, who vacillates back and forth between the two sides. The appointment of one more Justice of the former type would tip the balance and make the Supreme Court the supreme arbitrator of government policies, many of which would originate from the court itself.
Few Americans understand the proper role of the Supreme Court or the extent of its powers as defined by the Constitution. This is evident by the public reaction to the most recent outrage by the Supreme Court last week in its ruling in “Boumediene v. Bush” which grants “due process” rights in civilian courts to prisoners of war kept at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
The Salt Lake Tribune compiled a sampling of editorials on the case from newspapers around the country. Here are some of their comments.
“The Supreme Court on Thursday took back the moral high ground in America’s fight against terrorism, even as President Bush quickly signaled that he’d gladly surrender it again.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“The military war crime trials, Guantanamo and whatever secret prisons we employ now ought to be dismantled. They are a smear, not just on the country’s global reputation, but on U.S. justice. The Supreme Court got this right.”
“Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling that foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo have the right to challenge their imprisonment in federal court is an emphatic rebuke of President George W. Bush’s terror war detention policies.”
San Jose Mercury News
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to uphold terror suspects’ right to challenge their imprisonment affirms the American commitment to the rule of law.”
“Court restores rule of law at Guantanamo….In doing so, the court is doing its part to help this country get beyond the Bush era of legal manipulation that has done immeasurable damage to U.S. standing in the world.”
Dallas Morning News
“It was a bad day for the Bush administration and its anti-terror policies, but a good day for liberty. ….Yes. We applaud the court for risking error on the side of liberty.”
The editorials can be read in their entirety at the Tribune’s website.
The Tribune added its own voice to the chorus with an editorial of its own.
“The war on the Taliban and al-Qaida is a battle of ideas, the Western ideals of individual freedom and a secular, limited state versus an extremist theocratic vision of the Islamic community. To win, the United States must not just talk the talk of freedom. It must walk the walk.
That is why the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling this week again upholding the right of habeas corpus – the right of a prisoner to be taken before a judge to challenge incarceration by the state – is immensely important. It is a ringing affirmation that the United States means what it says about individual freedoms and the due process of law, even to the point of affording the right of habeas corpus to an enemy prisoner at Guantanamo who our government says is bent on our destruction.”
The Tribune’s editorial, as do the others, illustrates the colossal ignorance most people have of the United States Constitution. One of the great features of the Constitution is the fact you do not have to be a lawyer to read and understand its meaning. It is written in simple and straightforward language that can be understood easily by anyone with the ability to read English.
For example, the “right of habeas corpus” mentioned in the editorial above, does not appear anywhere in the Constitution. The words “right” and “rights” appear twenty-six times in our founding documents; ten in the declaration of Independence, once in the Constitution, ten in the Bill of Rights, and seven in the remaining amendments. Not once is it used in conjunction with “habeas corpus”.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says:
“The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”
The words, “privilege”, “privileged” and “privileges” are used only four times in the founding documents, each time in reference to citizens. The privilege of Habeas Corpus is provided to persons charged with violations of criminal law and is subject to being suspended when public safety requires it. There is nothing in the Constitution to extend this privilege to non-citizens on foreign soil or to the military justice system in times of war.
In the Supreme Court case under consideration, Boumediene is an Algerian citizen captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan who has never set foot inside the United States. To extend “due process” rights in this case, and in opposition to both Congress and the Commander In Chief, is a dangerous violation of the doctrine of “separation of powers” set forth in the Constitution.
Another popular misconception concerning the Constitution is the belief that a ruling by the Supreme Court supersedes all previous rulings and the historically understood meanings of the Constitution. This seems to be vaguely based on Article VI of the Constitution which says:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
There are two noteworthy observations that need to be made relative to this article. First, the laws and treaties must be in pursuance to the Constitution. Second, the courts are to be bound by the Constitution, not the other way around.
The tagline in the header of this blog and on our website is taken from the ruling in the 1803 landmark Supreme Court case, “Marbury vs. Madison.” In it, Chief Justice John Marshall made clear the fundamental principle of all constitutional governments, any law or court judgment that contradicts the clear meaning of the Constitution is null and void.
Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, whenever the Administration, Congress or any of the Courts, including the Supreme Court, violates the Constitution they become a lawless body worthy of the contempt of every citizen.