Friday, July 09, 2004

The Supreme Court and Saddam Hussein

US lawyer Curtis Doebbler, the only American on Saddam's legal team, has filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to declare Saddam's detention unconstitutional. Does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over Saddam Hussein? They might have, before he was turned over to the Iraqis, although since he was declared a POW it's not clear what the court would have to say. From the CNN article:
In paperwork at the high court, Doebbler said the detention of the 67-year-old violates multiple international laws and his constitutional Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of "life, liberty or property without due process." He also said the war crimes tribunal planned in Iraq was neither independent nor impartial.

Let's be very clear about one thing: Saddam Hussein is not a US citizen. He does not have rights under the US Constitution. He may have rights under the Iraq Constitution, once it exists. As for international law--as Saddam was held as a prisoner of war, and treated as such, his detainment was fully in line with the Geneva convention.

The whole thing is silly, as is clear from the article:
The Supreme Court will review those arguments only if it grants permission for the filing.

"I doubt the Supreme Court will even get that far," said Fordham Law School professor Thomas Lee, a former clerk at the court.

Doebbler had filed a brief in the Supreme Court this year encouraging it to rule in favor of legal rights of foreign terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Last week, justices decided the nearly 600 men from 42 countries held at the U.S. prison in Cuba may use American courts to challenge their detentions.

In a dissent to that opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that federal courts will now have to deal with lawsuits from "around the world, challenging actions and events far away."

You know, if I didn't know better, I'd think this was an article by a right-leaning news organization, as it seems to be saying that Scalia was right.

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