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Habeas Schmabeas


Keith Olbermann had a fantastically snarky commentary yesterday on the Bush Administration and Republican Torture and Evisceration of the Constitution Bill.  If you haven't seen it, get thee to Crooks and Liars.  It's a hoot (only in the way that painful news being delivered with a level of sarcasm can be).  Here's a taste, via C&L:

…Because time was of the essence–and to ensure that the 9/11 families would wait no longer–as soon as he got the bill, President Bush whipped out his pen and immediately signed a statement saying he looks forward to signing the actual law…eventually.

He hasn't signed it yet, almost two weeks later, because he has been swamped by a series of campaign swings at which he has made up quotes from unnamed Democratic leaders, and because when he is actually at work, he's been signing so many other important bills, such as:

The Credit Rating Agency Reform Act;

the Third Higher Education Extension Act;

ratification requests for extradition treaties with Malta, Estonia and Latvia;

his proclamation of German-American Day;

the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act;

and his proclamation of Leif Erikson Day.

Still, getting the Military Commissions Act to the President so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress didn't even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, has some of its minutiae, escaped scrutiny.

One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus. which apparently used to be the right of anyone who's tossed in prison, to appear in court and say, "Hey, why am I in prison?"…

Generally, the President has only two weeks to sign something into law, but since Republicans think rules and the law are for other people, there has apparently been some maneuver to enable President Bush to sign it outside that usual window. Cheeky bastards.  (Personally, I'd like to know exactly how this has been accomplished, so if anyone has the details, please share.)

Froomkin had a good review of coverage on this.  And, as always, Balkinization and Glenn continue to hit these issues as well — including this appalling update on the treatment of Jose Padilla.

Members of Congress are home doing all sorts of campaign appearances between now and November.  This is a great time to show up at their local office or a campaign event and ask your elected representatives to take a little time and discuss whether they stand up for the Constitution or not.  No elected official should be given a pass for spitting in the direction of the Founding Fathers and the principles on which our nation was begun — be polite but firm, and remember, they work for you.  And report back here if and when you get someone to talk about their stance — we'd love to hear what they had to say for themselves, good or bad.

(Photo via Rolling Stone.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com