Wednesday, December 13, 2006 11:02 PM

Hamdan a harbinger of things to come?

The first results are in. Jurisdiction: D.C. district court. Ruling part 1: The MCA does not suspend the writ of habeas corpus generally; if that was the intent of Congress, then that attempt fails as unconstitutional, given that there is no rebellion or invasion at present (nor when the MCA was passed). Ruling part 2: Hamdan, as a non-citizen who was apprehended outside of the U.S. and is being held outside of U.S. territory in Guantanamo, has no constitutional right to the writ. Therefore, the court has no jurisdiction to hear his claims.

Summary: there may be due process claims that are valid, or equal protection claims that are valid, but none of them can be reached, because the MCA requires the case be dismissed. See the full ruling.

In the meantime, the federal government has subpoenaed a document in the ACLU's possession. A grand jury is apparently investigating the leak of this document, which is classified. But the government isn't asking the ACLU to produce the original, or to produce emails and notes in connection with the acquisition of the document; rather, the subpoena is for "any and all copies", including those in electronic form, presumably so that the document itself can disappear from public dialogue.

Apart from a certain lack of trust that I have in the current administration's use of classification to hide documents that could prove politically embarrassing, things like this spark my concern:

' The group’s lawyers have agreed for now not to disclose the contents of the document, but hyperlinks to the papers posted yesterday on its Web site include the word “torture.” '

(Source: NYT,

I am long past the point where I can believe that the government is not involved in something nefarious, and that this isn't related to another attempt to hide techniques related to torture, because they have already argued that torture is legal and they are now arguing in another case that all details of interrogation techniques must remain hidden from the public and from detainees' lawyers.

And so, at this point, I must believe the worst. On such days it is difficult to remember that the sun still shines, yes, on the just and unjust alike...