Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Keith Olbermann on the Death of Habeas Corpus

Last night, Keith Olbermann did a brilliant piece (video below) on the unconstitutional atrocity known as the Military Commissions Act of 2006, whose nicknames include "The Torture Bill" and "The Death Warrant for Habeas Corpus". He begins by noting that -- despite the fact that this is "his bill" (in fact, it even pardons him retroactively for several of his many impeachable offenses), and he rushed it through too quickly for many members of Congress to read it, much less allow for proper debate -- he hasn't been able to be bothered to sign it into law in the two weeks since it was passed by Congress.

Still, getting the Military Commissions Act to the President so he could immediately mull it over for two weeks was so important, some members of Congress didn't even read the bill before voting on it. Thus, has some of its minutiae, escaped scrutiny.

One bit of trivia that caught our eye was the elimination of habeas corpus. which apparently used to be the right of anyone who's tossed in prison, to appear in court and say, "Hey, why am I in prison?"
He explains, using a deliciously satirical video entitled "Why does habeas corpus hate America", that the bill violates the constitution, which says "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." After which he shows footage of Patrick Leahy (D-VT) arguing before the Senate that the act "would not merely suspend the great writ, the great writ of habeas corpus, it would eliminate it permanently." Well, I guess since the Constitution does not explicitly mention the elimination of habeas corpus, only its suspension, this bill is ok. It's the Founding Fathers' fault for not foreseeing such usurpation of the government.

Olbermann goes on to explain how each amendment in the Bill of Rights, save the third, is neutered by this elimination of habeas corpus, ending on the sardonic note:
So as you can see, even without habeas corpus, at least one tenth of the Bill of Rights, I guess that's the Bill of "Right" now… remains virtually intact.

And we can rest easy knowing we will never, ever have to quarter soldiers in our homes… as long as the Third Amendment still stands strong.

The President can take care of that with a Signing Statement.

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