Scalia Should Recuse Himself From Gitmo Case

The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in a big case: whether to allow the Bush administration to try Guantánamo detainees in special military tribunals with limited rights for the accused. But Justice Antonin Scalia has already spoken his mind about some of the issues in the matter.

During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK.

"This is clearly grounds for recusal," said Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human-rights group that has filed a brief in behalf of the Gitmo detainees. "I can't recall an instance where I've heard a judge speak so openly about a case that's in front of him—without hearing the arguments."


Paul Hue said...

1) You're probably correct that his comments are cause for recusal; would you feel the same if he made comments that you support?

2) He's correct about the legality of putting POWs or "enemy combatants" into normal criminal or civil courts.

3) Given the nature of this war, the Bushies should probably disregard the legalities and not only afford these combatants Geneva Convention coverage (which does not cover them as they don't wear the uniforms of any signatory nation), but free the captured people after a few months, since holding them will likely cause a new person (or more) to get recruited.

4) Tom and Nadir: What do you guys want? Do you want the Geneva conventions applied? If so, this will preclude the POWs from these legal appeals, and mandate their imprisonment until the official end of hostilities.

Nadir said...

1)would you feel the same if he made comments that you support?

It would still be cause for recusal, but I probably wouldn't have posted this article.

2) Yep, but they are covered under the Geneva Convention which has clauses that apply to everyone in a conflict torn area.

3) When in doubt, follow the Geneva Convention.

4) It has already been determined that most of the prisoners shouldn't be there in the first place. Just do the right thing. Follow the Geneva Convention and figure out the case of each person. If they should be released, let them go. If they are a POW, retain them, though according to Bush, the Iraq war is over and with the Taliban overthrown, isn't the Afghan war over as well?