The US Supreme Court today declared illegal the military commissions being run by the Bush administration at the Guantanamo Bay Prison. The white house wanted to hold military trials of some of the prisoners held there on war crimes charges. In a 5-3 decision the court ruled this illegal. Demonstrating his continued ignorance Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a strongly worded dissent in which he said
to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous
Actually it is precisely the job of the supreme court to second guess the determination of the political branches and not to be a rubber stamp. Secondly, there was no determination of “the political branches” to hold these mock trials. This was a dictate from the white house and congress never approved it. In fact congress declined to approve the trials. Maybe Thomas should read Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion where he wrote
Concentration of power (in the executive branch) puts personal liberty in peril of arbitrary action by officials, an incursion the Constitution’s three-part system is designed to avoid.
Kennedy is exactly right on this point and it is well past time for both court and congress to stand up to this would be dictator and do their job.
Update: From Americablog I saw this link to the ScotusBlog. The actual decision is really huge. In the decision the court stated that the Geneva Conventions of prisoners of war do apply to these prisoners! This essentially means that most of the tactics being used by the Bush administration are illegal and in fact are War Crimes! Time to bring on the articles of impeachment!