I was taken aback by the vitriolic response to the Supreme Court’s decision that all prisoners detained at Guantánamo Bay are constitutionally entitled to bring habeas corpus in federal court to challenge the legality of their detention. One would think that the majority of the court had committed an act of high treason. I believe the opposite is true. The Court finally took a stand to uphold this key provision of the Constitution that has languished in recent years under George Bush’s presidency.

I found it disheartening that it was so easy for the Administration to frighten us into willingly giving up fundamental protections granted by the Constitution. What we seem to have forgotten is that there is a reason for guaranteeing the right to counsel and habeus corpus: when government police power is unchecked it is often abused. The Supreme Court acted as it was supposed to act – as part of our system of checks and balances to prevent excessive power and consequent abuse by the executive or legislative branch. Apparently some people would prefer the Court to rubber stamp whatever President Bush thinks is best, but that would be an abdication of their responsibility.



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