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Retrieving our Constitution

The following appeared in a Christian Science Monitor story about two hours ago:

The Fourth Circuit’s decision has profound repercussions. … It grants the executive discretion to displace the constitutional protections of the criminal justice system, including the right to speedy presentment, confrontation, and trial by jury, merely by alleging a connection to possible terrorist activity.

The defendant’s lawyer said this in his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems obvious on the face of it that the court, in this case, made a decision that gives one person more power and authority than the Constitution of the United States. Surely that can’t be right. Nobody is above the law; nobody has authority greater than our Constitution.

Perhaps you’ll disagree if I tell you the attorney is Jonathan Hafetz , an ACLU lawyer. Or that the defendant, Ali Saleh al-Marri, is a foreign national who was imprisoned on suspicion of being a terrorist. Or that the executive in question is President George Bush.

Or you might think, as I do, that Hafetz is right on, that the lower court was out of its mind giving anyone authority to subvert the Constitution, that of course al-Marri (after being held without charge for more than five years) has the right to be tried, and that no one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.

Not until next June will the Supreme Court issue its ruling on this case, and by then Bush will be out of office. Hopefully, al-Marri finally will appear in court to be tried and either convicted or exonerated from his alleged crimes against the Constitution. I wish the same could be said for George Bush.

"A republic, if you can keep it." ~ Benjamin Franklin

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