Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mukasey Seeks Law on Detainees

They just don't get it.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey urged Congress to pass new limits on the legal rights of terror detainees, a move that seeks to bolster the Bush administration's antiterrorism policies in light of a rebuke by the Supreme Court.

The court ruled, the Bushies don't agree, so they want the rules rewritten.

Democratic leaders in Congress say there is little chance of addressing such potentially controversial legislation. With only about six months remaining in the current administration, questions of what to do about the more than 200 detainees at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will likely fall to the next president.

The Democrats are expected to do this in the summer before the presidential election? Gimme a break. Pure politics.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Congress passed an "Authorization for Use of Military Force" against those who carried out the attacks. The administration has used that congressional resolution as legal backing for its surveillance and detention policies.

The Supreme Court in June, for the third time in four years, struck down the White House's treatment of prisoners it deems enemy combatants, specifically restrictions on their ability to challenge their detention. The ruling opened the way for detainees to seek a hearing in a U.S. court.

Seems clear enough, the Court having ruled three times in four years -- and this is the Bush court, at that.

Chris Anders, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel, said the administration is "obviously worried about their detention authority for people who they don't plan to charge but who they want to keep in detention."Mr. Mukasey said his request for a congressional declaration doesn't signal that the administration is worried about its legal footing for holding terror detainees. "I'm asking for a reaffirmation of something that was enacted in legislation after Sept. 11, 2001," he said. "I am suggesting that it would do all of us good to have that principle reaffirmed, not that the principle itself is in doubt."

Interesting point: why does something that is already law need to be reaffirmed?

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