August 10, 2004

Now Let Them Enforce It?

I don't speak law, so perhaps there's a good reason that this Phil Carter post hasn't been picked up in the blogosphere. But it seems like a big deal.

The Supreme Court has ruled that detainees have some rights to habeas corpus hearings. The Bush Administration, unsurprisingly, is unhappy with this ruling, and, also unsurprisingly, is going to use procedural issues to delay the hearings. But if I read Phil correctly (citing SCOTUSBLOG), he's saying that the Bush Administration is trying to get courts to rule that the habeas corpus hearings don't matter--that they will take place after military tribunals are concluded, and that they won't overrule the tribunals.*

That sounds perilously close to ignoring a ruling of the Supreme Court. And, as Phil says, you can't do that. (Imagine what would've happened if the Florida Supreme Court had ignored Bush v. Gore.)

I could easily be reading this wrong. Maybe this isn't "The Supreme Court has rendered their decision; now let them enforce it"; maybe it's throwing ordinary procedural roadblocks in the way of a decision you don't like, the way "with all deliberate speed" was exploited in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. Then the failure to give detainees hearings would constitute ordinary contempt for the rule of law rather than unprecedented contempt for the rule of law. I hope that's what's happening.

*But maybe I'm reading "defer" wrongly.

Posted by Matt Weiner at August 10, 2004 02:34 PM