Thursday, June 16, 2005

Your Freedom To Rot In Jail Forever

Jose Padilla, famous as the Chicago "dirty bomb" terror-suspect, provides an interesting case in the limits of government power. According to the now quaint U.S. Constitution, you can't just lock someone up indefinitely without charging them with a crime. But in the Padilla case, the government says it can do exactly that. All it has to do is say that the person is an "enemy combatant." An attempt to appeal Padilla's case to the Supreme Court was turned down the other day, as detailed here. Money quote:

But justices declined to address a separate issue: whether U.S. citizens arrested on American soil can be designated "enemy combatants" and held without trial.

Here's another money quote:

No person shall be ...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

It seems that money quote 2 should trump money quote 1, but then that would assume the constitution was still in effect.


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