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Daily Pilot: "Should inmates have the right to habeas corpus?"

Jun 25, 2008

Washington, Jun 25, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court again recently rejected President Bush’s policy of holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and suspending their rights to habeas corpus — the right to seek their freedom before a judge.

Bush has indicated, as he has after similar High Court rulings, to seek some relief from the ruling through legislation.

What sort of legislation would you favor, or should the administration just let the ruling stand?

I strongly oppose this ruling.

Potentially, this decision would allow enemy combatants, in a time of war, to have an attorney and would afford them more rights than they would have in their home country.

Also, it would mean, when capturing an enemy combatant, our soldiers might be compelled to collect evidence to try to ensure that a terrorist was not released by a clever trial lawyer.

Our soldiers at war have never and should never be distracted from their mission in this way.

That being said, a very divided court made this ruling on their interpretation of the Constitution, and it is not yet clear if there is a legislative fix.

However, if one does exist, I will support it.

Rep. John Campbell

(R-Newport Beach)

There should be a reexamination of certain individual cases of those held in captivity because mistakes can be made during wartime, but whatever legislation we have should not mandate full constitutional rights to foreigners who may or may not be at war with the U.S.

They should not have the rights of U.S. citizens consistent with the Johnson v. Eisentrager (1950) Supreme Court ruling.

Congress passed both the Detainee Treatment Act and Military Commissions Act to establish a legal procedure under which detainees could be tried.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision has overridden that legislation and has now granted potential terrorists the same rights under habeas corpus guaranteed to U.S. citizens.

I strongly disagree with that decision and hope it does not cost American lives in the future.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

(R-Huntington Beach)