I wonder if, instead of griping and complaining, our side should be sending the Supreme Court a thank you note for its Hamdan decision. Bear with me.
In today’s giddy editorial lauding the decision, the Washington Post makes this observation:
The central part of the ruling declares that the special military commissions set up on President Bush’s order to try alleged members of al-Qaeda are unlawful. It gives the administration a simple choice. It can proceed with cases under current law, using standard military courts-martial, which provide fuller procedural protections for the accused than do the commissions. Or it can go to Congress for specific authorization to deviate from those rules. [Emphasis added].
(The New York Times makes a similar argument today.)
Yes, let conservatives go to Congress and demand that it make a “deviation”. In fact, let Republicans do it in August or September, just shortly before the election, so that it can become a campaign issue. We’ll then see if Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats are really willing to give terrorists captured on foreign soil the same rights as Americans.
Will the political right (and, more importantly, Republicans) seize this opportunity? Based on past experience, I can’t say I’m optimistic. But they should. Although the left will complain, they’ll have little reason to, since they now urging that President Bush go to Congresss.