Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bleeding-Heart Libertarians

All I can say is, "What took you so long? Where were you the last five years?" Better late than never, I guess...
Prominent conservative lawyers joined liberal colleagues Tuesday in opposing Bush administration anti-terror tactics, arguing that an immigrant held as an enemy combatant has a right to seek his freedom in court.

The legal brief, filed in the case of suspected al-Qaida sleeper agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, argues that a new military commissions law is unconstitutional.

The argument has been made in this and other detainee cases, but Tuesday's brief is notable for the bedfellows created by the politics of anti-terrorism. Staunchly Democratic law school deans Harold Koh of Yale and Laurence Tribe of Harvard were joined by lawyers such as Steven Calabresi, who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations and helped found the conservative Federalist Society.

"It shows the phrases 'conservative' and 'libertarian' have less overlap than ever before," said Richard A. Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor and Federalist Society member who signed the brief. "This administration has lost all libertarians on all counts." [Yeah, right.]

In June, the Supreme Court said the Bush administration's handling of detainees violated U.S. and international law. Bush then pressed for, and got, a new law that he said would help the government prosecute terrorists.

The Military Commissions Act allows the military to hold detainees indefinitely and strips them of the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts. The Justice Department did not immediately have a comment Tuesday night but has defended the law as a constitutional and necessary tool to combat terrorism.

(...)

"This involves the executive branch changing the rules to avoid challenges to its own authority," Koh said Tuesday. "Serious legal scholars, regardless of political bent, find what the government did inconsistent with any reasonable visions of the rule of law."

Epstein, who said he regards Koh as "mad on many issues," said the al-Marri case is "beyond the pale."

"They figured out every constitutional protection you'd want and they removed them," Epstein said.

I'm glad to see that at least some of the libertarian/Federalist whackjobs are coming around to the idea that holding people indefinitely without trial on the Bush administration's say-so might be just a weensy tad bit out of sync with the Constitution, really I am. But despite what Epstein says, I would be willing to bet that its apologists and enablers still far outnumber the light-seers in that particular demographic. They portray themselves as fierce, noble, and independent, but behind the pose they are craven, selfish, and intellectually dishonest.

I would be happy to offer them a deal, however: Stay away from government, and government will stay away from you. No vote, no political advocacy, no taxes, no recourse to government benefits or infrastructure of any kind. Go nuts with your bad selves. Just don't kill or otherwise harass any of the sane people, okay?

I would be willing to soften this to, say, limited taxes and limited government benefits, maybe even some kind of "a la carte" system - just stay the hell away from the polls and the media.

Sadly, as with everything else, it's not up to me.

21 comments:

op99 said...

I hope some of them there Supremes have libertarian leanings.

Eli said...

The right-wingers *are* supposed to be Federalists. But I think loyalty will trump that.

The Heretik said...

Why does everybody hate America?

Jenny from the Blog said...

I've been thinking for a while now that these attorneys, all of them, regardless of political leaning, are probably tied up in knots everyday over the horrific plight of their *clients*. They can't talk now but the horror stories are going to flood out into the mainstream at some point. Harper Collins, get ready.

Eli said...

I find it hard to believe that the conservatarians give a shit about what the presumptive terrorists are being subjected to - but the ones with a conscience are clearly very alarmed by what the *Constitution* is being subjected to.

Jenny from the Blog said...

Eli, I think any attorney would come out of a situation like this *radicalized*, no matter their feelings going in. Seeing it up close and personal has to have an effect on anyone who practices LAW. Unless they're entirely corrupt.

I can't remember the name of the conservative group at the moment, but they were all over Clinton and now they're bringing up suits left and right. I think they started with the Patriot Act.

I'll try to remember.

Jenny from the Blog said...

Even the most right-wing lawyer would believe a person has the right to an attorney before they're locked up and tortured with no charges being brought. I just have to believe this.

Eli said...

Unless they're entirely corrupt.

Yes. Unless they're entirely corrupt.


Even the most right-wing lawyer would believe a person has the right to an attorney before they're locked up and tortured with no charges being brought. I just have to believe this.

Have you met Ms. Althouse or Mr. Reynolds?

Jenny from the Blog said...

Have you met Ms. Althouse,

No, but I've met Mr. Altmouse, is that good enough?

Seriously, I know there are corrupt and evil lawyers out there by the bucketful, but I'd bet the vast majority are extremely unhappy at the moment with the government's trashing of the constitution.

And I should amend my earlier comment because I infer that these *bleeding hearts* all are currently representing detainees of some sort, which they're not.

Jenny from the Blog said...

Well since the Constitution doesn't seem to apply to the OTHER, I should say trashing human rights, trashing the Geneva Conventions... trashing the laws of Man.

Eli said...

Seriously, I know there are corrupt and evil lawyers out there by the bucketful, but I'd bet the vast majority are extremely unhappy at the moment with the government's trashing of the constitution.

I'm sure the honest lawyers are upset, but how many honest Republican lawyers are there? I also suspect that, generally speaking, there is an inverse correlation between their honesty and their influence.

I'm sure there are lots of honest Republicans, but they're not the face or hands of the party.

Jenny from the Blog said...

The face of the Republican party is slowly starting to change. I think a lot of lawyers who have held back from speaking because of the potential for shunning ie political backlash (okay, they're not *profiles in courage*) will start creeping to the fore, now that it's a bit safer. Remains to be seen and I don't want to sound too much like a Pollyanna here, because you know I'm pretty cynical. But on this, I feel fairly confident. I guess we'll see.

Eli said...

I guess it's possible that the sane, grown-up Republicans reclaim their party, now that the looting, war-mongering, Christianity-distorting, law-flouting wing has totally discredited itself - but the question is, for how long?

I don't think any transformation is going to occur until the Wurlitzer changes its tune, meaning that the corporate moneymen want a change.

Jenny from the Blog said...

I think the Republican Party as we've known it is crumbling to such a degree that it's gonna take at least 20 years to rebuild, if ever. Seriously, once the truth comes out they're history's toast.

What I mean is the sensible people on the right, as despicable as I think they are for propping up the war criminal, will either leave the party in shame, morph into something else entirely (independents?) or stick around to rebuild, but it's going to be a herculean task.

So in the ensuing chaos more people of conscience, even if they're way late to the party, will start to emerge.

What, did I take my optimism pills tonight?? Somebody stop me!

Eli said...

Mmm... history toast...

The Republicans will probably just become more sneaky and diabolical.

Jenny from the Blog said...

Then again, it took Bin Laden 5 years to plan the World Trade Center bombings because he didn't like our presence in Saudi Arabia. If he's got anything in his arsenal large enough to avenge the murder of what, a half-million, we may not live long enough to see the Republican party, or any other party, make any changes. We're not out of the woods.

Oh damn, I've misplaced my happy pills. Eli, you got a stick of Beeman's?

Eli said...

I wonder if OBL already has something lined up, but can't pull the trigger because he's afraid it would undermine the Republicans and fuck up his recruiting.

Wouldn't *that* be ironic.

op99 said...

I can't remember the name of the conservative group at the moment, but they were all over Clinton and now they're bringing up suits left and right. I think they started with the Patriot Act.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/
Larry Klayman

Jenny from the Blog said...

Bless you, op99.

That was making me nuts. I could hear Klayman's voice in my head but just couldn't quite remember. I'm not following Judicial Watch too closely but they have come out with some startling alliances in the past couple of years...

Thanks again!

Jenny from the Blog said...

Yeah, well, Klayman has a really annoying voice, which is why I recall it so vividly.

op99 said...

I could hear Klayman's voice in my head...

Seek professional help now.