Friday, September 29, 2006

A toast

Spot's session in the sweat lodge ended a little early, so he was able to make it to DL last night. It was a pretty morose crowd, uncharacteristic of liberals really. The big topic of discussion was the military tribunal/detention/torture bill that passed the House and similar legislation that was under consideration by the Senate, which has now passed.

This is one of the saddest and most lamentable chapters in US history, and in the memory of most of us. Although Spot does recall when . . . well, never mind.

There are many things in these bills that are objectionable, but one of the worst is the provision that MNObserver mentioned yesterday: the provision for indefinite administrative detention of citizens and non-citizens alike, whether in the US or out of it, and leaving them without resort to the ancient writ of habeas corpus. Spot will have more to say about this in coming days.

In the meantime, Spot recommends that when you uncork that bottle of wine tonight, or go out with friends for dinner and a drink, that you do what MNObserver did last night:

Offer a toast and a bitter farewell to the Magna Carta and its 800 years of guidance.

Here is part of the Magna Carta:
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his

rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his

standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him,

or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals

or by the law of the land.

The "we" of course is the royal we, being King John, who is reciting concessions of the Crown in England in 1215. This is generally considered to be the first prohibition of administrative detentions and for judicial determination of guilt by jury trial.

There is a momument at Runnymeade, where the Magna Carta was signed, erected by the American Bar Association to mark the importance of the Great Charter in US law.

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments: