THE DILEMMA

I recognize that Obama is a more attractive candidate than Romney on many levels. He’s more personable, more empathetic with people going through hard times and more respectful of simple facts.

But Obama, in his four years in office, has overturned two of the principle foundations of American democracy — habeas corpus and due process. This is something hardly anybody talks about. They probably know everything there is to know about Romney strapping his dog in a carrier on the top of his car for a long trip. Gutting The Constitution doesn’t merit that kind of coverage.

Habeas corpus is the foundation of any free government.  It means that the state can’t seize and incarcerate you without due judicial process.  It’s guaranteed in The Constitution except in cases of war or national emergency.

Lincoln notoriously and controversially suspended habeas corpus in a few instances during the Civil War — which was indisputably a war and a national emergency.  Obama, like George Bush before him, has decided that the War On Terror is an equivalent sort of war and national emergency, giving the President the right, on his sole authority and at his pleasure, to suspend habeas corpus.

This is madness.  The point of the Constitutional exceptions was to limit the suspension of habeas corpus to defined periods of crisis.  The “War On Terror” addresses a threat that might continue indefinitely — and only the President can decide if it’s over or not.  This is a classic maneuver of tyrants — suspending the guarantees of freedom on the grounds of an emergency, an emergency defined only by the tyrant.

Obama has also redefined due process.  This has always meant judicial process.  One reason for our tripartite form of government, with an independent judiciary, is to create a check on executive or legislative power through law.  Obama has introduced the novel notion that “due process” means any kind of process he chooses to apply, including formal executive or military review of cases.

When the executive can define “due process” in this way, it essentially does away with the guarantee enshrined in The Constitution.

Bad as Romney is, how can any patriotic American vote for a man who has effectively gutted The Constitution, which he took an oath to preserve?  It’s like pissing on the graves of the patriots of earlier times who gave their lives to defend the freedoms protected in The Constitution.

Liberals think, “Well, Obama is not going to misuse the powers he has seized from the people by fiat — it’s not going to affect my life.”  What they fail to consider is how future Presidents may use the tyrannical powers Obama has seized.  They argue that Obama will make better Supreme Court appointments than Romney — and that’s surely true.  But what difference will that make in an America which no longer respects habeas corpus and due process?

It will make no difference at all.  Democracy in America will be, for all intents and purposes, over.

4 thoughts on “THE DILEMMA

  1. Because other people have a sense of proportion. Because anyone with a lick of sense knows that electing Romney means turning the country over not just to him but to the Republican party as currently constituted, which would be a disaster. Because only an idiot would subject his country to such a fate for the sake of a gesture. Because Obama could in four more years appoint a Supreme Court that would overturn the law, while Romney would surely appoint justices who never would. Obviously if your conscience can’t abide it that’s a perfectly good reason to cast a protest vote. It’s people like you who subjected us to eight years of George W. Bush so they could have the Green Party on the ballot, so you might as well use. it. Your lily white hands will be clean. Flights of angels will sing hosannas to your name. Me, I have to live in this country.

    You will also note that I’m the only one who seems to give a shit what you think.

    • I respect your point of view, except that I think it’s naive to imagine that Obama is going to appoint Supreme Court justices who will nullify the unconstitutional executive powers he has seized.

  2. And he was a constitutional law professor, no less.

    Re: the argument that Obama will appoint better SCOTUS justices, how can you be sure these theoretical justices will vote the “right” way? You can’t. They’re independent human beings who respond to political pressure. Most everyone was *certain* that SCOTUS would overturn the ACA but reliable conservative Roberts upheld it.

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