Bush is going out
Martial Law Style
By Allison Margolin
The World of LA's Dopest Attorney
|Sept 7th 2006|
Today is the craziest day in news because President Bush has admitted what some of us already knew: that this nation is under martial law and it's getting worse. President Bush announced that he wants and will ask congress to agree that convictions based on coerced evidence which is admissible. In the words of the article in today's LA Times, Bush's Plan Allows Coerced Evidence, this system is "military style."
I have said for a long time that the United States is under martial law, as President Bush has already done the very thing that defines wartime or martial law: he has suspend the habeas corpus rights of terrorist suspects. This means that those in federal custody under terrorism suspicion are detained without recourse to the court system.
This strategy was also used by President Lincoln during the Civil War, although the attention to civil liberties given by Lincoln exceeded that shown by the Bush Administration. This excerpt By John Dean compares history and details the frightening poor record of the Bush Administration on civil liberties issues.
What is going on Legally?
The Executive and Legislative branches are unconstitutionally usurping the power of the Judiciary. As Romi Ben-Elyaho, Attorney at Law and my office-mate, said: "Under our constitution, there is a system of checks and balances. At this point in time, the Executive and Legislative (Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution) branches are impeding on the power of the Judiciary as articulated in the U.S. Constitution." Article III.
The Legislative Branch has the power to enact the laws. The judiciary has the power to interpret the law and to protect the rights articulated in the entire Constitution. The President is not entitled on a whim to discard fundamental freedoms by sabotaging the constitutional process.
What Bush is proposing is de-facto changing the very specific language of the constitution regarding the evidence necessary to convict someone of treason.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3
Conviction of treason therefore requires more evidence than any other type of trial in the criminal system, and is prescribed by the U.S. Constitution.Not only is what Bush doing unconstitutional but stupid, and flies in the face for the rationale for the constitutional prohibition against forcing someone to incriminate themselves as articulated in the 5th Amendment. The reason evidence obtained under duress is not used is in part because it is considered inherently unreliable as someone will say anything if faced with the prospect of death if they remain silent.
The freedoms alluded by Romi are not only those of terrorist Suspects or terrorists but of everyone. Once Congress gets in the practice of legislating away the constitutional rights of terrorists, andwhose rights do you think are next?
By Allison Margolin Sept 7th 2006
Attorney Allison B. Margolin