Monday, June 13, 2005

Supreme Court refuses to hear Jose Padilla case

The Supreme Court rejected on Monday a request by Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for three years as a suspected enemy combatant and suspected by U.S. officials of plotting with al Qaeda to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States, for an immediate decision on his detention instead of waiting for a federal appeals court to rule.

Two things about this case:

1. I agree with the USSC's decision to let the case run its course. The federal appeals court in Virginia is going to hear the appeal on July 19.

2. I strongly disagree with the administration's position on Padilla!

Padilla (aka "Osama bin Lopez") is an American citizen, and thusly is afforded rights guaranteed by our Constitution. You know, trial by jury (and not tribunal), right to an attorney (which was delayed for the longest time), etc. Our government can't keep us in jail indefinitely without charging us with anything! But alas, with Padilla, they're doing exactly that.

Look, my heart doesn't bleed for the guy. He's probably guilty as hell. But for God's sake, charge the man with something! If we don't have evidence strong enough to convict him, we can't keep him imprisoned until we find it! If we have evidence, but it's too sensitive to divulge, then I'd even be open to a closed-door court proceeding with public transcripts (and the most sensitive parts redacted). Something, ANYTHING...just charge the guy! This is the kind of crap you'd see some tinpot dictator doing in a Third World country!

Think about it, people! Today it's Padilla, tomorrow it's you! All the government has to do is say "national security interests", and they can lock you away forever? Your Constitutional rights be damned? I don't think so!

Fortunately, a federal court in South Carolina agrees and has already ruled that the government doesn't have the authority to do what they're doing, and they must release Padilla or charge him. What pisses me off is that the government actually appealed the ruling, which means they are actually trying to argue that they can and should keep him detained without charging him! If they charged him, the case (and subsequent appeals) would be moot.

This bothers me, and it bothers me intensely!