Well, not yet, anyway. Just crossing the wire is the news that the Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision (Liberals+Kennedy versus the Conservatives) that detainees at Gitmo have the same Federal rights under the constitution as any other American, at least insofar as being able to access Federal courts. I’ll issue the same caveat I’ve heard elsewhere- this has just been released so more details on the decision might clear things up. At this point, however, it looks like the Supreme Court has just extended the privileges and immunities of the Constitution to ‘enemy combatants.’
I am just curious to know where such logic ends. If they can make use of the civilian courts it surely would follow that they would fall under civilian law. If it doesn’t mean that then it is an irrational and disjointed opinion (and it might prove to be just that). If it does mean that, let us consider the implications: our soldiers will have to take into account the rights under American law that those shooting at them have. After all, even gangsters shooting at cops have rights. Will our soldiers have to get warrants before breaking into buildings the enemy is thought to be hiding in? Will they have to prove ‘probable cause’ to obtain those warrants? Will they have to read them their rights before shooting? Will they have to collect and document evidence?
Can the enemy upon arrest seek bail? Get parole? Demand a jury trial of their peers? “Your honor, we don’t believe we can get a fair trial in the states. We’d like to move the trial to Pakistan…” Perhaps this is a Democrat led attempt to bring enemy soldiers under Federal law so that they can now tax them.
In the end, besides the absurdities that I suspect our soldiers will have to ponder and may actually be the actual implications of the decision (again, pending further review), the real net effect seems to me that if the rights of the Constitution extend to those who are not citizens in Gitmo, then they are to be extended to anyone who is not a citizen anywhere. Why it should apply only to our detainees is beyond me. Has the entire world now been extended the rights of American citizens? Can they all sue in Federal courts? Or must they first get themselves detained?
What about illegal immigrants, then? When they get detained should they be able to sue in Federal courts?
Where does this madness end?