Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lies and the lying liars who tell them: A reader writes Andrew Sullivan to tell him Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ conceit that habeas corpus may be denied to certain prisoners literally ignores the whole history of the United States:

[G]o back and look at Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address: [Jefferson] says very clearly that habeas is one of the basic premises of our entire system of government; that it’s a fundamental right that shores up all the others. Elsewhere he identifies habeas as one of the “four pillars” of our constitutional system. You’re not going to convince me that the Founding Fathers didn’t view habeas as “grandfathered” into the US system — that’s simply obvious. So why are we now being subjected to this Stalinist historical revisionism? Why does the Attorney General of the United States make comments like this in such a public forum? He would only make them because he needs them for cover, i.e., because he has advocated and implemented a consistent policy of violating habeas corpus rights that rests on each of these niggling distinctions. Which is why one should stop scrutinizing the footnotes of law review articles and be worried.


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