Friday, January 19, 2007

We've been wrong all this time

"The constitution does not say that every citizen has the right to habeas


Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, has decided that it's not enough to reinterpret most statues and defend he's arguing that the rights enumerated in the Constitution are not really granted to people by default.

Apparently, he believes that the constitution doesn't actually GRANT any rights to people -- it only specifies when rights can be revoked. Uh -- in what world? Does this mean that the other rights given to citizen in the US by the constitution aren't really the default? Is the argument that you actually have to be explicitly granted these rights for them to be supported? Who grants them?

Gonzalez is, in one fell swoop, announcing that he (and by association, the current administration) believe that the rights we all take for granted as the basis of our legal system and society (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc) do not actually exist.

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee
hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.
“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away
except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

Gonzales continued, “The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended” except in cases of rebellion or invasion.”

Neither of which is occuring today. But by his argument, we don't need to apply habeus corpus, a fundemental legal right, to everyone because they don't actually have it by default. That's a frightening -- and dangerous -- delusion.

I don't know why I'm surprised, but I certainly hope that the calls for his impeachment are heeded.

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