Republican Presidential nominee John McCain has sided with the Bush administration against affording the right of habeas corpus to prisoners held a Guantanamo following todays 5/4 Supreme Court decision. “We made it very clear these are enemy combatants,” he told more than 1,000 supporters at a town hall meeting, echoing the president’s criticism of the court decision. “They have not, and never have been, given the rights of citizens of this country.”
Senator McCain, habeas corpus is not a privilege given to U. S. citizens by a generous government. It is a basic human right, belonging to all people who have been imprisoned. It dates back to the Magna Carta, signed by John Plantagenet, King of England, in 1215. The idea, sir, is that nobody, including kings and presidents, is above the law.
Sadly, four out of five of our Supreme Court Justices seem unaware of this basic human right also. Chief Justice John Roberts criticized his colleagues for striking down what he called “the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.” Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito joined Roberts in dissent. Generous? To be held without trial, without knowing what crimes they have been accused of for the last six years – with no end in sight? Perpetual imprisonment? Generous indeed, it’s costing a fortune to keep all those Afghan goatherds in their luxury suites Cuba. The cable bill alone is shocking.