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“Patriotic” Karl Rove Demonstrates His Fear And Loathing Of The Constitution

Reported by Ellen - July 4, 2008 -

On the eve of July 4th, Karl Rove went into paroxysms of pique at the notion of not being able to detain indefinitely, beyond judicial scrutiny, without being charged, anyone the president declares an “enemy combatant.” He implied that judges intent on enforcing the Constitution are traitors who would be “happy to find for the detainee.” He was joined in such fervor by Rich Lowry, the substitute co-host on Hannity & Colmes last night (7/3/08). But Alan Colmes not only stood up for the Constitutional rights of all persons to habeas corpus (as our Constitution directs) he also argued down Rove’s claim that the authorization to use force granted to Bush by Congress is equivalent to a Congressional declaration of war. With video.

The discussion began with Rove and Lowry tut-tutting the recent Supreme Court decision to restore habeas corpus to enemy combatants.

I’m not sure if anyone in the Bush administration has ever overtly stated it before, but Rove told Lowry that Guantanamo Bay was chosen as a detention facility precisely because the administration thought it could avoid the U.S. Justice system there.

Rove said, “One of the reasons that the administration did not close Gitmo earlier was because this court case was wending its way through the lower courts and on to the Supreme Court. And the question was, if you brought a enemy detainee, somebody you picked up in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere around the world, and brought them to the U.S. shores, would they have habeas corpus rights? And by keeping ‘em at Gitmo, not on U.S. soil, it was thought that we’d avoid that problem. And now the Supreme Court says no matter where you have them, they get the rights of, you know, the right to an attorney and right of habeas corpus, which is really extraordinary.”

Actually, what’s extraordinary is that a guy who fashions himself as such a patriot would be so blatantly hostile to the bedrock of our Constitution, the right to challenge a detention - an indefinite detention.

Rove got more excited as he described the horrifying (to him) scenario of having to prove that a detainee is guilty. That would mean, he said with disgust, that if the government picks up someone “with a weapon or an explosive device in Afghanistan or Iraq (the country we invaded to give them democracy, the same thing he’s now desperate to keep from them) and you’ve got to prove with the same degree of evidence, in the same manner, the chain of custody of the evidence, that that person is guilty.”

Oh, the outrage of having to prove someone is guilty in order to detain them!

Apparently, in “patriotic” Rove’s America, part of the problem is that judges might demand proof, thereby proving they’re really traitors. Rove continued, “We’ve got plenty of judges, particularly on the west coast and in the 9th Circuit, who’d be happy to find for the detainee in that instance.”

By the way, all that tough talk never translated into Rove actually suiting up and joining the military.

Fellow chickenhawk Rich Lowry likewise complained about not being able to hold people indefinitely on the government’s say so. Lowry said, “Another thing that’s terrible about this decision... is this is gonna make it really hard going forward to hold for any length of time people who we capture on the battlefield in the war on terror.”

Colmes set the tone for his part of the discussion right away. He began by saying, “Hey, Karl, this is a great decision which dates back to the Magna Carta... The Constitution applies to persons, not just citizens.” Colmes is correct about that.

Rove started sputtering, “Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan... Can you imagine fighting World War II where we’d have to have an attorney present for every Nazi whom we had in an Arizona or Nevada or Utah prison camp?”

“You can’t just hold people without telling them (they have the) right to an attorney and being charged with something. That’s basic to our criminal justice system,” Colmes responded.

Rove started shouting. “This is not criminal justice. This is a war.”

“Did Congress declare war?” Colmes asked. While Rove had grown more excited, Colmes remained calm.

Rove answered that the Congress had authorized the use of force.

“There was no declaration by the US Congress, Karl,” Colmes said. “If you want to go by the Constitution, don’t they get to declare war? And they haven’t done that.”

The argument went on about whether or not war had been declared until the end of the segment. If you ask me, Colmes won it hands down.

By the way, Rove is also thumbing his nose at the law by refusing to respond to a Congressional Judiciary subpoena to testify next week about the politicization of the Bush administration's Justice Department.