Monthly Archive: June 2008


So, today the United States Supreme Court ruled that the terror suspects held at Guantanomo Bay in Cuba could appeal to civilian courts.

At present, they can only appeal their combatant status to “combatant status review tribunals”, which are essentially military courts.

The New York Times writes:
“The issues that were weighed in Thursday’s ruling went to the very heart of the separation-of-powers foundation of the United States Constitution. “To hold that the political branches may switch the Constitution on or off at will would lead to a regime in which they, not this court, say ‘what the law is,’ ” Justice Kennedy wrote, citing language in the 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison, in which the Supreme Court articulated its power to review acts of Congress.”
These 4 justices are those typically branded the ‘conservative’ judges on the United States Supreme Court. To me this illustrates how much the term ‘conservative’ itself has come to change meaning recently. As far as I’m concerned, a conservative judge is someone who takes a rigid standpoint to the law, and does not read it creatively for their own purposes. Allowing the military appeals tribunal process to stand would be almost law MAKING rather than law DETERMINING — and law MAKING is certainly not the job of the Supreme Court. Surely it would be an act of judicial activism to let the law stand (and I’m not arguing here whether there is a place for judicial activism or not), but that is exactly what the dissenters are accusing the majority opinion of: judicial activism. And since why oh why have civil liberties departed from the vocabulary of the right wing??? But that is for another day.