July 20, 2005

Roberts and Executive Power; Also, Robots

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at July 20, 2005 3:53 PM

I've been thinking this John Roberts guy isn't so bad, but this Slate piece gives me a reason to worry:

The opinion [that Roberts joined last week in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld] says that Congress authorized the president to set up whatever military tribunal he deems appropriate when it authorized him to use "all necessary and appropriate force" to fight terrorism in response to 9/11. While the president has claimed the authority only to try foreign suspects before the tribunals, there's nothing in the Hamdan opinion that stops him from extending their reach to any other suspected terrorist, American citizens included. This amounts to a free hand—and one Bush is not shy about extending. The administration has already devised its own tribunals to review its claims that the Guantanamo detainees are all enemy combatants who are not entitled to the international protections accorded to prisoners of war. As of February, 558 hearings had resulted in freedom for only three prisoners. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the legality of these tribunals—a question that Roberts may now help decide.

It seems to be something that only civil libertarians worry about, but the Bush administration has made a consistent effort to expand executive power, especially when it comes to detaining anyone for any reason without any judicial oversight. Needless to say, we have ample reason not to trust this gang with that sort of power, and so I'm extremely wary of judges who are inclined to give it to them. This is also why I'd be firmly against an Alberto Gonzales appointment—as White House Counsel he expressed the opinion (in the infamous "torture memos") that the President should have the authority to ignore the law in wartime, a doctrine that should have been put to rest by the Glorious Revolution in 1688. (However, the opinions of judges may not matter in the end: the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Bush administration must bring charges against the Guananamo detainees, and Bush has mostly just ignored them.)

Another disturbing thing about Roberts is that when I saw his picture, my first thought was: Robot Ted! in reference to the Stepford husband played by John Ritter on an episode of Buffy. It's something about the look in his eyes. And really, robot Ted with his 1950's social programming would be the perfect Supreme Court nominee for Bush, wouldn't he?

Supreme Court Nominee
John G. Roberts

Was it Ted? 'Cause I always said there could have been more than one of him. —Dawn Summers


Yeah, but John Ritter was cool. :)

Posted by: Mason | July 20, 2005 8:09 PM
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