Sen. John Warner (R-VA) “said Friday that he was not sure that Congress should pass legislation to create new military tribunals for terror suspects, a stance that raised doubts about prospects for a White House plan to establish an alternative to the commissions struck down this week by the Supreme Court,” the New York Times reports.
Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Hamdan case, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on television and said that all Congress needed to do was provide its “blessing” to Bush’s procedures. Many others, especially critics of the decision, have echoed Graham’s position.
Today, Georgetown Law Professor Carlos Vazquez explained that things aren’t as simple as Graham and others would have you believe.
Vazquez said that Congress could pass a law authorizing the procedures ruled illegal by the court. But according to the court’s decision, doing so would abrogate Common Article 3 of Geneva Conventions. This would have serious consequences because the Geneva Conventions provide essential protections to U.S. troops abroad. Watch it:
Vazquez also noted that — contrary to some interpretations circulating in the blogosphere — the court did not find the Geneva Conventions were only relevant because they were incorporated into the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Even if you amend that law, Gevena still applies.
You can find a summary of Vazquez remarks on the Georgetown Law blog.
“On December 18th, Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, joined other prominent Washington figures at FedEx Field, the Redskins’ stadium, in a skybox belonging to the team’s owner.” The group began discussing news reports about the NSA’s warrantless surveillance of Americans. “According to someone who knows Powell, his comment about the article was terse. ‘It’s Addington,’ he said,” referring to Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington. “He doesn’t care about the Constitution.“
The right wing has wasted no time attacking the Supreme Court and those who supported its ruling on Guantanamo yesterday. Rush Limbaugh’s website ran the headline, “Liberals Celebrate Supreme Court Victory for Terrorists.”
Attacking the patriotism of those who support the decision is ironic. The majority opinion in the case was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, “winner of a Bronze Star for his service as a Navy officer in World War II.” And Hamdan was represented by Charles Swift, a Navy lieutenant commander, who Washington Post defense analyst Bill Arkin today describes as “The Hero of Guantanamo.”
Here is a man in uniform who could have done a perfunctory job, who could have seen Hamdan as an assignment, or as an evil and not a human being; who could have saluted and followed orders; who risked promotion and now faces certain retirement without it. He is the hero of Guantanamo.
Swift was interviewed last night by Greta Van Susteren. Watch it:
Full transcript below: Read more
Talk show host Melanie Morgan tells Gregg Sargent, “the best solution that I can think of to deal with any newspaper editor…who is responsible for leaking national security classified information, is to be locked in a steel cage with the family members of slain troop members who would happily deliver the ultimate punishment of death. And then sent to the hottest corner of hell.” Watch some video of Morgan on MSNBC here.
Last month during a primetime television address, President Bush called for comprehensive immigration reform. He said legislation must address “all elements” of the immigration issue:
Tonight, I want to speak directly to members of the House and the Senate: An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all.
Both the House and Senate passed immigration legislation, but only the Senate bill contained a path toward citizenship for undocumented workers. The differences between the House and Senate bills need to be worked out in conference, but conservative hard-liners have successfully deadlocked talks for several weeks. Now, it looks as if Bush may placate enforcement-only advocates and back off his support for comprehensive reform:
[I]n recent days, senators and the White House have dropped hints that they are willing to move closer to the House’s position – perhaps by agreeing to a two-phase plan that would begin with construction of triple-layer walls, deployment of surveillance aircraft and other means of tightening the border with Mexico. When those measures are fully funded and operational – a process that could take as much as two years – debate on some version of the Senate’s broader proposals would begin. ["¦]
Also this week, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) met with Bush and Vice President Cheney to discuss his proposal for a guest worker program that would roll out only after the government certifies that the border is secure. “The president listened intently,” Pence told reporters. “He told me that he was intrigued with my proposal.”
The sentence handed out to three Louisianans convicted of looting liquor from a grocery store six days after Hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile, two men convicted this week of bribing a federal official to falsify Katrina contracting documents received one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
subscription in protest of their reporting on a government program that monitors bank transactions. The decision “outraged library staff [at the University of the Incarnate Word], who complained the dean was censoring information based on personal beliefs.” The Agonist has more.
Last Sunday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Rep. John Murtha said he believed the “American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran.” The report was quickly seized on by conservative media — including Brit Hume, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson — to attack Murtha.
The story was false. Murtha was citing an international public opinion poll, not expressing his own views. On Wednesday, the Sun-Sentinel issued a correction. We urged ThinkProgress readers to contact the television outlets that pushed the innaccurate story and correct the record for their viewers.
Over the last two days O’Reilly and Hume have done so. Watch it:
According to a database search, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson (who said Murtha was “in the thrall” of anti-American activists) haven’t bothered to inform their viewers that their attacks were based on a statement Murtha never made.
In a “swipe at the media aimed primarily at The New York Times,” the House voted yesterday to condemn media organizations that had disclosed the Bush administration’s program tracking financial records.
President Bush has nominated Peter D. Keisler for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Keisler is currently a senior Justice Department official and defended the administration’s policy of military tribunals, which was overturned yesterday by the Supreme Court.
Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke says the administration wants the “public to believe that it had not already occurred to every terrorist on the planet that his telephone was probably monitored and his international bank transfers subject to scrutiny.” “How gullible does the administration take the American citizenry to be?” Clarke wonders.
“Prospects for a swift renewal of the Voting Rights Act faded on Thursday as lawmakers called for new congressional hearings.” If not renewed, provision of the landmark 1965 civil rights legislation will expire at the end of 2007. Read more