Saturday, June 28, 2008

Listening to the Constitution

On June 12, 2008 the Supreme Court delivered a ruling on the case of Boumediene vs Bush. Read brief contents here . This decision has quickly been touted as controversial on several grounds. The most of which are people saying that the origins of the suit are "terrorists", "enemy combatants", or not "American citizens." I have more than one issue with the decision. Read here at ...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
But all of the supposed controversy is not directed correctly. Keep in mind when the initial briefs were filed, some of the Guantanamo detainees had been in custody, without charges, without trial for up to 2 years, which is now 6 years and running. Are some or even all of the detainees "bad people"? That is precisely why I am concerned; NO ONE is answering this question with due process, through the writ of habeas corpus.

The Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
(unalienable, inalienable : incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred. Webeters)
The Constitution of the United States Article 1 Section 8:
The Congress shall have Power…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

The Bill of Rights: Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Bill of Rights: Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Read the full text of these amazing documents here

I posted these excerpts for a reason, the Declaration of Independence speaks of our "unalienable Rights" that are NOT granted by the government of ANY nation, but by birth itself. People speak of our "constitutional rights", my rights are NOT GRANTED by the Constitution, but by the Creator. The Constitution is a list of what the government CANNOT do, against rights that are natural, not granted. There is no citizenship to any Nation required for Liberty, we only have a set of rules that our representatives must work within so that we can be a leading example to the world, the "shining light" Ronal Reagan spoke of. Even Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his dissent "The important point for me, however, is that the Court should have resolved these cases on other grounds. Habeas is most fundamentally a procedural right, a mechanism for contesting the legality of executive detention. The critical threshold question in these cases, prior to any inquiry about the writ's scope, is whether the system the political branches designed protects whatever rights the detainees may possess. If so, there is no need for any additional process, whether called "habeas" or something else."

The Constitution is not a granting of rights by the government, but a set of rules by the People for the government. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," (The Declaration of Independence 1776)

Some people also want to claim that this "is a military issue." If that is the case lets look at the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

(a) The following persons are subject to this chapter:
(9) Prisoners of war in custody of the armed forces.
(10) In time of war, persons serving with or accompanying an armed force in the field.
This chapter applies in all places.
a) Apprehension is the taking of a person into custody.
(a) Charges and specifications shall be signed by a person subject to this chapter under oath before a commissioned officer of the armed forces authorized to administer oaths and shall state--
(1) that the signer has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set forth therein; and
(2) that they are true in fact to the best of his knowledge and belief.
(b) Upon the preferring of charges, the proper authority shall take immediate steps to determine what disposition should be made thereof in the interest of justice and discipline, and the person accused shall be informed of the charges against him as soon as practicable.
(a) No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to incriminate himself or to answer any questions the answer to which may tend to incriminate him.
(b) No person subject to this chapter may interrogate, or request any statement from an accused or a person suspected of an offense without first informing him of the nature of the accusation and advising him that he does not have to make any statement regarding the offense of which he is accused or suspected and that any statement made by him may be used as evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.
(c) No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to make a statement or produce evidence before any military tribunal if the statement or evidence in not material to the issue and may tend to degrade him.
(d) No statement obtained from any person in violation of this article, or through the use of coercion, unlawful influence, or unlawful inducement may be received in evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.
The trial counsel, the defense counsel, and the court-martial shall have equal opportunity to obtain witnesses and other evidence in accordance with such regulations as the President may prescribe. Process issued in court-martial cases to compel witnesses to appear and testify and to compel the production of other evidence shall be similar to that which courts of the Unites States having criminal jurisdiction may lawfully issue and shall run to any part of the United States, or the Territories, Commonwealths, and possessions.

I am not saying that the "prisoners" are innocent or should be set free. I am NOT criticizing the men and women involved in the actions of their commanders. However I believe is evident in the above we have the tools, text, and historical proof that our rights are not granted nor guaranteed by anyone but ourselves, we must choose to not strip these rights we hold so dear from others. We have the debate and the teachings, now comes the hard part, we need to listen.

Thank you,

Listening to the Constitution

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