I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Illicit Postcard from prison

I am still locked away in my undisclosed prison cell, forcibly denied all contact with the outside world (other than my editor, but one's oppressor does not count as "outside world") until the manuscript for my book is complete. I have always been an ardent supporter of Jose Padilla but I have now, harrowingly, developed a personal empathy for his situation. The real, final, never-to-be-moved-again deadline is this Monday, so I expect to be emancipated and able to return to regular blogging early next week.

I am genuinely very happy with how this book has developed and believe that it can make a meaningful contribution to (what ought to be) the public debate over the fact that we have a President who has seized powers which are, in every sense, the antithesis of the principles on which this country was founded. The book, which will be released on May 15, is now available for pre-sale on Amazon, although the Publisher is planning some sort of grand announcement early this upcoming week and so I probably just lost my evening food ration by mentioning that.

This week, the Bush Administration essentially ensured that it will retain the power to abduct and imprison U.S. citizens based on nothing more than Presidential decree as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 decision refusing to hear Padilla's challenge to his lawless imprisonment. The majority denied review on the ground that criminal charges against Padilla - after a mere 3 1/2 years -- have now been filed against him, thus rendering "moot" the question of whether it is constitutional to imprison U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without charges being brought.

Three of the six Justices who voted to deny the hearing, including Chief Justice Roberts, issued an Opinion which seemed to indicate that they would be watching closely and would bring the case back if Padilla is not given a speedy trial. But no matter. The Administration got what it wanted -- the ongoing ability to detain and consign to a military prison whomever the President desires, just like the Founders intended. It was particularly odd that Justice Stevens voted against review, given that he had previously observed - correctly: "at stake in this case is nothing less than the essence of a free society." One would think that concepts of "mootness" would give way to a case in which the essence of free society is at stake.

I wish I had more time to comment on several other significant events this week, both in the NSA scandal and elsewhere (many of which are detailed in this Times article), but I hear the guards coming, and I can't risk any more infractions, or any more broken bones.


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