RealNews

In Classic Check and Balance, Court Shows Bush It Also Has Wartime Powers

In the fall of 2001, President Bush justified his decision to treat some captured terrorist suspects as “enemy combatants” without access to lawyers, courts or other long-established legal rights on the grounds that he could not let the United States’ “enemies use the forums of liberty to destroy liberty itself.” On Monday morning, the Supreme Court upended a good-sized chunk of that logic, and offered a powerful reminder that in the United States, even in wartime, no prisoner is ever beneath the law’s regard, and no president above its limits. It was Justice Robert H. Jackson who first noted 52 years ago this month, in another wartime election summer, that a president is not commander in chief of the country, only of the military. Justice Jackson wrote that in his concurring opinion overturning Harry S. Truman’s seizure of the American steel industry during the Korean war, and Justice David H. Souter cited those words approvingly in his concurrence on Monday.Full Story

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