Friday, June 13, 2008


Justice Scalia in his dissent in Boumedienne v. Bush granting habeas corpus relief to the 270 inmates at Guantanamo claims that:

"[t]he Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today."

I would like to ask, how does affording inmates at Guantanamo cause regret to the United States? Does Justice Scalia think that a hearing in front of a judge at the district federal court will cause mayhem and chaos? Or is it that Scalia thinks all 270 inmates are the most dangerous and already convicted in front of an impartial tribunal?

It is like what you would expect some pope of churchman to say during the darkest days of the Inquisition. "We know she is a witch, so burn her at the stake." Scalia gives the impression he like the priest of old already knows each and every one of the 270 is a terrorist.

But what if that were not so? What if there were one innocent person caught up in the rush to give the Americans what they wanted in Afghanistan, people with swarthy complexions and beards who were Islamists? What if of the 270 there were 10 innocents or 100 or 200? Scalia seems to care not a whit for the non-terrorist arrested in the massive dragnet after 2001. And he is not ready to grant them a habeas hearing to find out.

Writes Scalia:

"[This opinion] will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. "

What is Scalia trying to say here? That Boumedienne v. Bush will cause more Americans to be killed? Or that the opinion probably will cause more Americans to be killed? Or that it is not certain that more Americans will be killed? Note the sieve through which those words "almost certainly" flow. Surprising imprecise words from a jurist noted for stressing words' plain meaning.

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