In Mother Jones, Bradford Plumer responds to my recent article about the Supreme Court’s bad decision in Rasul, which permits any enemy combatant in the custody of the United States to seek habeas review in federal court. While apparently conceding my point that the decision will have deleterious effects to the war on terror, Mr. Plumer responds:
Nevertheless, this country has faced a number of pressing, dire challenges -- from the two World Wars to the threat of nuclear annihilation. We did not tear up the Bill of Rights then, and we should not do so now.
In this statement, Mr. Plumer shows that he is painfully ignorant of history and the law. The Supreme Court had in fact previously held that enemy combatants held on foreign soil could not seek U.S. habeas review. That case was decided in response to claims brought by WWII detainees. Oops, so much for Mr. Plumer’s knowledge of history. Second, the Rasul case dealt exclusively with interpretation of a statute, and expressly did not involve the Constitution, which means that despite Mr. Plumer’s rhetorical flourish, the Bill of Rights was not even involved. So much for his knowledge of the law.