Nazi parallels revisited
Seems like this is a good time to revisit Dr. Richebächer's comparison last summer of 21st-century America to the Nazi Germany of his youth . Congress has now passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and as Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman points out , it essentially repeals the right of habeas corpus, even for U.S. citizens:
"Buried in the complex Senate compromise on detainee treatment is a real shocker, reaching far beyond the legal struggles about foreign terrorist suspects in the Guantanamo Bay fortress. The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."
This is an even bigger deal than it seems on the surface. As Jacob Hornberger wrote three years ago (in an article that began by addressing the Nazi analogy), once habeas corpus goes out the window, the rest of our freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights becomes meaningless:
"Contrary to popular opinion, the cornerstone of a free society lies not with the freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment. They’re important, but much more important is what very well could be considered to be the lynchpin of a free society — the right of habeas corpus — a right that is guaranteed within the original Constitution itself."
"Assume that a government has the power to seize anyone it wants within the country and execute him the next day, without any trial whatsoever. Ask yourself: What difference would it make if people in that society had freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion? What difference would it make if they had the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances?"
So back to the Nazi parallels. Does anyone who took issue with Dr. Richebächer back in August wish to reconsider?