< .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Moment of truth

The Bush administration is about to see whether it is going to get the payoff they were counting on when it packed the Supreme Court with John Roberts and Sam Alito.

There really is a lot at more at stake in this debate than the rights of Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur. Despite the repeated straw man argument raised by Bush and his cronies, liberals do not want to coddle terrorists nor do we believe that the government should not take all legal efforts to protect us from terror.

Where we draw the line is the word "legal." Liberals believe that we should not run roughshod over the constitutional rights we claim to be fighting for. That means no torture, no usurpation of power with the flip claim that "we're at war."

I wish I could be sanguine that the Supreme Court will agree. High courts, even "liberal" ones, have a history of siding with the executive, even liberal ones, in wartime, even if history later proves the decision to be morally wrong. Note the use of the word "hysteria" in describing the national mood then, a mood this administration has worked hard to foster.

Add to this the fact Roberts is already on record as siding with administration arguments in this case. While he must recuse himself, one can't help but be a bit concerned about the court's definition of recusal based on recent histories of Justices Scalia and Alito. And of course there's Alito's near-slavish devotion to executive power to consider.

With all these caveats, it is still hopeful that this court -- minus these two justices -- maintained some skepticism about administration claims of wartime power.

In the end it comes down to the basic question -- must we shred out rights in order to save them? I'd like to think the answer is no but we will soon arrive at that moment of truth.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home