Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 27, 2011 / 23 Nissan, 5771

Can the Constitution be saved?

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The horrors of 9/11 created many American widows. Among them is Kristen Breitweiser, a lawyer who also mourns "The Sad Defeat of our Constitution" (Huffington Post, April 4) after President Obama decided not to prosecute the alleged leading killers "in an open court of law." She added, "I wonder whether it wasn't just the steel towers that were brought down and incinerated on 9/11 but the yellowed pages of our U.S. Constitution as well."

Those of us acquainted with the Constitution are also aware of how much we continue to lose from our founding self-government document that gave us a choice to be a free people. For example, far from Guantanamo Bay's military commissions, here at home our constitutional guarantee of personal privacy is hanging by a thread.

During the Bush-Cheney escalation of unbridled executive power, certain Supreme Court justices tried to actively guard the Constitution, as when President Bush unilaterally took over national security because, he said: "You need to have a president who understands you can't win this war with legal papers." (ABC's "Nightline" May 13, 2004) President Obama, having also shelved more of the Constitution, agrees with his predecessor.

But in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the 2004 Supreme Court ruled that Yaser Hamdi -- an American citizen held without charges or access to a lawyer in a Navy brig here -- had a constitutional right to appear before an American judge.

Writing for an 8-to-1 court, Sandra Day O'Connor famously (for a time) said: "A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

But what about the noncitizens we imprison as suspected terrorists?

An answer came in June 2008 from a deeply divided Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, ruling that suspected terrorist non-citizen prisoners at Guantanamo Bay had the right under "the Great Writ," habeas corpus, to make our government show that they were lawfully held in their cells.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, wanted not only Americans but also the world to know: "The laws and the Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

When our Constitution was taking form, Thomas Jefferson insisted to James Madison that habeas corpus be in the very body of the Constitution. And in a 1798 letter to A.H. Rowan, Jefferson declared: "The Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law. … Freedom of the person under the protection of habeas corpus I deem (one of the) essential principles of our government."

This applies to anyone, citizen or not, in custody under American law, no matter what President Bush and President Obama decree.

But despite Jefferson and the Boumediene Supreme Court victory for habeas corpus, the Great Writ has been steadily shriveled by the D.C. Circuit appellate court in Washington and then the Supreme Court -- with the support of President Obama and his so-called Justice Department. As Jane Mayer of the New Yorker says hard and plain, this administration is "incapable of standing up to the political passions still stirred by the threat of terrorism." ("The KSM Trial Decision," April 4, 2011)

In Andy Worthington's "How The Supreme Court Gave Up On Guantanamo" (pubrecord.org, April 14), he first notes that the D.C. District Court (a level below the D.C. Circuit Court) had generally decided that a habeas corpus petition from a Gitmo inmate could be denied if he were part of "the command structure" of al-Qaida and/or the Taliban.

This happened because in Boumediene, the Supreme Court had not clearly defined those prisoners eligible for habeas. In any case, the ever-vigilant Worthington documents that since January 2010, "D.C. Circuit judges… have attacked the 'command structure' argument insisting that (only) being 'part of' al-Qaida and/or the Taliban is sufficient to justify ongoing detention for life.'"

Habeas corpus denied.

What these D.C. Circuit Court appellate judges will settle for to deny habeas is just "some evidence" that the petitioner was part of these terrorist organizations. Jefferson would have strongly dissented against such unconstitutional vagueness.

Worthington quoted an angry New York Times editorial reminding the Supreme Court that "Alexander Hamilton called 'arbitrary imprisonments' by the executive 'the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.'" Worthington added sternly that the Supreme Court should remind the D.C. Circuit Courts "which one leads the federal judicial system and which has a solemn duty to follow."

If this "contemptuous approach" to the Supreme Court's historic decision in Boumediene by the lower appellate courts continues, Worthington predicts that "having gutted habeas corpus of all meaning in rulings over the last 15 months, the D.C. Circuit Court will be allowed to continue deciding that every prisoner still held at Guantanamo should -- and very possibly will -- be held forever, regardless of whether they were (previously) cleared for release by other judges, or by the President's own interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force."

President Obama is so busy running for re-election that I doubt that he cares about speaking up for the Boumediene decision because, after all, how many voters know about Boumediene -- or "the Great Writ."

On April 4, the protesting 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser wrote, "I recognize that there are many, many other things for Americans to be upset with today, but I hope everyone can take a second to contemplate this decision about trying the 9/11 conspirators at Guantanamo and recognize what it says about President Obama, the Department of Justice and the United States" -- and the effect on the Constitution.

Jefferson told us of "the eternal and unremitting force of habeas corpus laws." Little did he know.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

Nat Hentoff Archives

© 2006, NEA

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles