Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Stay

10.20.10
President Barack Obama delivers the 2010 State...
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Less than one week ago, a U.S. District Court Judge struck down the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy disallowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Now, the Obama Administration said that they would ask for a stay since Judge Virginia Phillip refused to suspend her ruling that the 17-year-old policy was unconstitutional. All this while simultaneously saying that they disagree with DADT.

Huh? Perhaps this snippet from ABC News can explain it:

The administration has argued that it disagrees with the policy, but that it should be repealed legislatively and not through the courts.

So, it’s now up to the executive branch to decide whether the judicial branch can make a decision on something?  Talk about expanding the presidential powers.  By that reasoning, what’s the point of even bringing a lawsuit to the high courts?  Might as well just write a letter to the sitting president and ask first if you can bring this case forward.  It’s even more frustrating that this is coming from Obama, who announced in his State of the Union address that he wanted to repeal the DADT law yet now that it’s essentially been done, he’s trying to stop it from being so.

Who cares if a wrong is righted by the courts or by the legislature?  Is one truly better than the other?

Well, some on the right consider this to be an act of a liberal, activist judge, in line with a huge push to the left against the will of the people – which would argue that yes, the legislature is better.

“Judge Virginia A. Phillips‘s brazen and error-strewn ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States provides a useful case study of the all-too-familiar phenomenon of liberal judicial activism — in brief, the wrongful judicial overriding of a democratic enactment in order to advance the agenda of the Left,” Ed Whelan of the National Review wrote.

Wrongful judicial overriding. Since when is making a ruling based on the Consitutionality of a law wrongful or overriding?  The judicial branch is a check and balance to the legislature, so that the laws that they sign pass the test of the law of the land: the U.S. Constitution.  Even if a majority of people vote on something, if it doesn’t jive with the first and fifth amendments (as in this case), it can’t be law.  Whelan should understand this since he’s clearly supportive of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which also involved the first amendment.  If that right extends to corporations, why not to gay soldiers?

But that coming from Whelan is no surprise.  It’s ridiculous coming from Obama.  The whole courts vs. congress argument feels forced — like they want to be able to say they tried to block it while saying they supported its repeal.  I mean, who is that going to please?  No one.

I love that Judge Phillip’s refused to suspend her ruling despite the president asking her to.  She’s standing by her decision as well she should.  It’s nice to see some intellectual honesty somewhere these days.

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Obama and Holder to Deny Miranda Rights to American Citizens

05.12.10

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder take a play straight out of the neoconservative handbook with their newest stance on terrorism suspects: no Miranda rights.

The line of reasoning as I can tell goes something like this:

  1. All terrorists harbor information on the whereabouts and plans of other bigger and badder terrorists;
  2. Intense interrogation that potentially goes outside the realm of current American law is the only way to obtain this crucial information;
  3. Therefore, Miranda rights must be suspended for terror suspects in order to save lives.

This new stance comes after the attempted bombing in New York City’s Times Square last week by Faisal Shahzad — an American citizen.  Obama and Holder want to suspend the Miranda rights for anyone – this means American citizens, as well – accused of terrorism or attempted terrorism.  This wouldn’t come as much of a surprise had McCain/Palin won the election in 2008, but I find it troubling that it’s coming from the current administration.  And after last month’s passing of the new immigration law in Arizona, it seems that the new status quo is denying civil rights that have long defined America in favor of strict and intrusive government oversight, all in the elusive and illusory name of security.

Those who cried fascism – Tea Partiers/conservatives/Republicans – during the implementation of universal health care should be screaming their heads off at this, yet I haven’t heard anything but support so far from those groups.  I can’t help but wonder why — isn’t denying rights to American citizens at their discretion pretty much the epitome of big government?

Holder backs up this new policy with some lines that make him sound like the edited-for-TV version of Dick Cheney.

“We’re now dealing with international terrorists,” he said, “and I think that we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face.”

Oh, we’re just now dealing with international terrorists?  What about Mohammad Atta, Richard Reid, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab?  They weren’t Americans.  Faisal Shahzad, however – the man whose alleged actions seem to have been the straw that broke the Miranda’s back – is an American citizen, so it seems that we’re actually now dealing with domestic terrorists.  (If you don’t count Joseph Stack, the disturbed American who flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, which many don’t because he wasn’t an Islamist.)

More emptiness:

The conclusion that Mr. Shahzad was involved in an international plot appeared to come from investigations that began after his arrest and interrogation, including inquiries into his links with the Taliban in Pakistan.

“We know that they helped facilitate it,” Mr. Holder said of the Times Square bombing attempt. “We know that they helped direct it. And I suspect that we are going to come up with evidence which shows that they helped to finance it. They were intimately involved in this plot.”

Note that they got all of this information despite having read Shahzad his rights.

So, where’s this dire need for intelligence that can only be had by suspending Americans’ rights?  And why are so many Americans clamoring for this?