to review cases a failure of justice
The Supreme Courts
Jan. 12 decision not to review the cases of possibly thousands of
detainees arrested after Sept. 11, 2001, represents an affront to
civil liberties in this country. The Bush administration imprisoned
these people (almost entirely Muslims and Arabs) in the name of
national security, but their lengthy incarceration was both unwarranted
and un-American and represents a failure of our judicial system.
According to the Bush administration many of those arrested committed
some sort of immigration violation or were illegal immigrants. However
the government refuses to disclose how many were deported, or how
many are still in prison. The Bush administration hasnt even
filed charges against those being held, let alone accuse any of
them of being terrorists. This, according to the Justice Departments
inspector general, violates a law requiring such imprisonment be
limited to 90 days.
A federal appeals court has already decided in favor of the Bush
administration, which argued that disclosing the names of those
arrested would give terrorists a glimpse into the post-Sept. 11
terror investigation. But how can the judiciary system, which is
designed to filter out unconstitutional laws and actions of the
federal government, give in so easily? Why do these justices and
the justices on the Supreme Court not seem to mind about the multitudes
of people who are being held without being charged?
Until some other court says otherwise, the government can
continue the policy of secret arrests that seems fundamentally inconsistent
with basic American values, Steven Shapiro, national legal
director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Associated
The mere term secret arrests is enough to send shivers
down my spine. It brings to mind soviet gulags and Nazi secret police;
armed men bursting through our doors in the dead of night to drag
And before you think to yourself that this can never happen in the
United States, keep in mind that it already has. The fear and suspicion
of Japanese Americans in World War II led to the illegal internment
of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens who would only receive
a formal apology more than 40 years later.
Though some would surely argue otherwise, our form of democracy
is not a flawless system of government. Occasionally we elect less
than qualified leaders, reinforcing the belief of many of our forefathers,
including Alexander Hamilton, that regular people are unfit and
unable to govern themselves. While I happen to disagree with Mr.
Hamilton, I do believe that people often tend to make the wrong
decision. And when the people elect to power someone who doesnt
know what hes doing, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to
step up and prevent that person from doing irreparable harm.
In this case the Supreme Court has failed to do so. Though it is
not my place to tell the justices of the Supreme Court how to do
their job, I can say that allowing the president to imprison so
called enemies without giving good reason is a mistake
we will all live to regret.
Opinion Editor Jeff Brubaker is a junior history major from Weslaco.