Saturday, December 31, 2005


2006: A Critical Year in Constitutional Law

Can the President of the United States unilaterally declare people to be "enemy combatants" without having to present any justification to anyone:
Padilla Lawyers Urge Supreme Court to Block Transfer

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 - Lawyers for Jose Padilla told the Supreme Court on Friday that it should not grant the government's emergency request to have him transferred from a military brig to civilian custody to face terrorism charges in a civil court.

The lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Padilla would prefer to be in civilian custody eventually. But they said it appeared that the only reason for the government's rush to move him was to bolster the administration's efforts to discourage the Supreme Court from reviewing the crucial underlying issue of whether President Bush had the authority to detain Mr. Padilla, an American citizen, as an enemy combatant for more than three years.
(Source: New York Times)
Can the President order the Executive branch to grab people off the street without a warrant and ship them off to third countries for questioning under torture? Does the President's proclamation that "we are at war" justify
Covert CIA Program Withstands New Furor
Anti-Terror Effort Continues to Grow

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 30, 2005; Page A01

The effort President Bush authorized shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to fight al Qaeda has grown into the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over its clandestine tactics, according to former and current intelligence officials and congressional and administration sources.
GST includes programs allowing the CIA to capture al Qaeda suspects with help from foreign intelligence services, to maintain secret prisons abroad, to use interrogation techniques that some lawyers say violate international treaties, and to maintain a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe. Other compartments within GST give the CIA enhanced ability to mine international financial records and eavesdrop on suspects anywhere in the world.
Will 2006 be the year that the United States affirms the principles of justice this country has always stood for, or will this be the year we begin moving from a democracy to a paramilitary dictatorship?


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