Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ironies Galore. What Will We Get? Right-Wing Justice or Constitutional Justice?

The Supreme Court has decided to hear the case of Al-Kidd v. John Ashcroft, G. W. Bush's Attorney General, according to this: Justices to Hear Appeal Over Liability for Detention - NYTimes.com. Ashcroft is appealing and he is claiming he is IMMUNE to law suits or prosecution for any illegal policy while in office. I can see that this case will be a real irony, and a problem, for the five Right-Wing Supremes. Will they decide for the King? Or will they choose the Constitution?

At the heart of the case is whether a public official, John Ashcroft, is immune from being sued for the policies he implemented while serving as Attorney General. So far, two courts, an Idaho Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled in favor of Abdullah Al-Kidd and against Ashcroft. So, will the Supreme Court reverse two judgments against Ashcroft? If it does, then it will be saying that a public official can do anything they want and not worry about being held accountable.

Al-Kidd was arrested and held as a "material witness" and hailed as the "second most important" arrest "in the country" by both Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller in their fight against terrorism in public statements and Congressional testimony. But, Al-Kidd was never called as a witness to a case, nor was he ever charged with committing or planning a terrorist act. In fact, there was not one iota of proof that he did anything illegal or that he had one iota of information that could be used as a witness against a terrorist. And, Al-Kidd had already told the FBI all he knew before he was arrested. Ashcroft and the FBI had nothing; zilch, and they never did. They did, however, concoct a number of false statements for a court-issued warrant for Al-Kidd's arrest. And, they did use extreme interrogation techniques to question Al-Kidd, such as keeping him naked, never letting him sleep, and holding him in small, isolation cages. His arrest and detention was all done because the agents "thought he was guilty or was planning something." They had no evidence for the slightest "probable cause" arrest. And so, two courts upheld Al-Kidd's claim that he could sue Ashcroft and the agents - that Ashcroft and the FBI agents violated his constitutional rights, under the Fourth (unlawful search and seizure) and Fifth (among other things - held without due process) Amendments, by arresting and holding him.

The ironies are galore. On the one hand, Attorney General Eric Holder, under a Democratic Administration, is defending Ashcroft, of a Republican Administration, against the very things that Holder has claimed to be unconstitutional; such as illegal wire taps, violation of civil rights, invasion of privacy, illegal search and seizure, etc. If Holder wins, then he himself is protected and immune from prosecution for the things he does in office, even when a court decides that he acted illegally. Of course, he could say, "trust me. I won't do anything bad." That doesn't sooth my skepticism. On the other hand, if the five conservative justices overturn the lower courts, and say that Ashcroft is immune, they are protecting Eric Holder in a Democratic Administration by giving him immunity, and all future public officials, of course. They are also confirming, once and for all, that the constitution is indeed dead, as Justice Scalia claimed in a speech once. If it is dead, then we are ready for a King... or a dictator. It's all a matter of time and which President, now or in the future, wants to take up the scepter and crown.

Oh well. We could look at the bright side. If the Constitution is dead, then we won't need congress, and that means that all the Tea Party congressional candidates won't be needed after all. Or, maybe they will help the matter along. LOL. By then, however, all those that didn't vote will, perhaps, understand to late that voting for qualified people matters. Another irony.


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