A lot of people are up in arms about the Supreme Court’s “no knock” decision.
I also think it’s outrageous.
Making police knock before barging into the sanctity of people’s homes is fundamental to the 4th Amendment, and to the principle underlying that dates back to thirteenth century.
Talk about turning back the clocks!
But there’s a decision that bothers me even more, and it’s received a lot less attention.
And that’s a ruling, on July 14, by Federal Judge John Gleeson, that the government can detain noncitizens indefinitely without explanation so long as that end of that detention is “reasonably foreseeable.”
The case before him was Turkmen v. Ashcroft, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights "on behalf of male Muslim noncitizens from Arab and South Asian countries who were swept up by the INS and the FBI in the dragnet that followed September 11," the center notes.
Judge Gleeson also ruled that the government could single out people on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. “If applied to citizens,” he acknowledged,” this singling out “would be highly suspicious.”
Calling the decision "profoundly disturbing," Rachel Meeropol, an attorney for the center, said it gives the green light to detentions of noncitizens "at the whim of the President."
Gleeson’s ruling would have justified the Japanese internment camps for all except those who were citizens at the time. (David Cole, one of the attorneys in this case, makes this same point in a great article he wrote for the LA Times.)
In the here and now, it’s an especially distressing ruling because it bestows a blessing on one of the Bush Administration’s many powergrabs after 9/11. With the Ashcroft Raids, Special Registration, and other policies, the government rounded up 5,000 immigrants and deprived them of their due process rights.
And Judge Gleeson says that’s OK?
The Fifth Amendment says “no person” shall be deprived of due process.
The Fourteenth Amendment echoes that, and says “no person” shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Now the Bush Administration and Judge Gleeson are willfully ignoring those amendments. And they are treating immigrants as less than persons.
How sweet it isn’t.
Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983. His McCarthyism Watch web column has chronicled more than 150 incidents of repression since 9/11.
© 2006 The Progressive