Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fourth of July Lesson

Over at The Corner, Andrew McCarthy, commenting on the Hamdan case, writes the following:

On the other hand, protecting the security of the American people — which is what classified information is all about — is the number one obligation of government.

Since the Fourth of July is upon us, Mr. McCarthy might like to revisit these words from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

McCarthy is right that security is the number one obligation of government, but the Framers knew that this obligation, while necessary, was not sufficient for a republican government. The American colonist were surely more secure under the British crown and protected by British arms and British ships, but yet they were not willing to trade this increased security for their liberties.

Happy Fourth of July.


jjv said...

Prof. Klinker:

Is it possible for the Court to damage our liberties and self-government by treading on areas the Constitution leaves to the Executive? When you count John Roberts' view (from the same decision below)this was a 5/4 decision. Why should a single Justice have more power to determine how non-state combatants are treated than the President of the United States? Moreover, from what I've read (not the opinion) the Court ignored Congress' effort to strip it of jurisdiction and apllied the Geneva Convention to non-state, non-uniformed actors.

Obviously, with this one decision the Court may have saved the Republicans from themselves. I really don't think taking the warmaking power away from the President, or applying the Geneva Convention to jihadi is going to make a lot of sense outside of Law Faculty lounges, and I think the Democrats can't get much more out of that demographic.

Finally, as to the Founders view of prisoners of war, I direct your attention to Major John Andre hero of the British Empire.

Happy Fourth!

QPRHigh said...

John Andre was behind enemy lines out of uniform, and with an illegal pass given him by an American traitor. Oh, and he was carrying Arnold's offer to hand over West Point. Still, he deserved POW status more than a stateless nutcase like UBL's driver. What to do with these guys is a real problem. Asserting their POW status is a copout answer to this tough problem.