Today’s lead editorial in the Times:
In another low moment for American justice, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that detainees held at the prison camp at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, do not have the right to be heard in court. The ruling relied on a shameful law that President Bush stampeded through Congress last fall that gives dangerously short shrift to the Constitution.
The right of prisoners to challenge their confinement â€” habeas corpus â€” is enshrined in the Constitution and is central to American liberty. Congress and the Supreme Court should act quickly and forcefully to undo the grievous damage that last fallâ€™s law â€” and this weekâ€™s ruling â€” have done to this basic freedom.
The Supreme Court ruled last year on the jerry-built system of military tribunals that the Bush Administration established to try the GuantÃ¡namo detainees, finding it illegal. Mr. Bush responded by driving through Congress the Military Commissions Act, which presumed to deny the right of habeas corpus to any noncitizen designated as an â€œenemy combatant.â€ This frightening law raises insurmountable obstacles for prisoners to challenge their detentions. And it gives the government the power to take away habeas rights from any noncitizen living in the United States who is unfortunate enough to be labeled an enemy combatant.
Of course, let’s not forget what Attorney General Alberto Gonzales thinks of such a mere Constitutional technicality as the right to habeas corpus:
GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesnâ€™t say, â€œEvery individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.â€ It doesnâ€™t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by â€”
SPECTER: You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General.
It’s astonishing to me that, six years into the Bush Administration, I still get email on a regular basis posing some variation on the question, why are you liberals so angry? As the saying goes, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.