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crazyivan's avatar

Where were all these Constitutionalists when Habeas Corpus was being revoked?

Asked by crazyivan (4471points) September 20th, 2010

It seems like nowadays you can’t swing a protest sign without hitting some Tea Party Super-Constitutionalist screaming about how their rights are being curtailed by health care reform or gay marriage or whatever they’re on about now. They always seem to use the Constitution as a shield even when their issues are not even remotely dealt with in the consititution.

A few years ago, under the direction of George W. Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales formally suspended the right of Habeas Corpus despite the unambiguous constitutional prohibition on such an action.

So where were all these Tea-Partiers when our constitutional rights actually were under attack?

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14 Answers

tedd's avatar

Didn’t you know when someone from the religious right does it its not a violation of the constitution? Yah they hid it in the bill of rights in real small print….. “All of these rights can be revoked and ignored if someone who shares your political and religious beliefs and probably skin color does it.”

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Where were they when Lincoln did it before him?

The Supreme Court allows some latitude in habeas when the country is at war.

crazyivan's avatar

@CyanoticWasp The constitution specifically allows for the suspension of Habeas Corpus in times of “Open rebellion and invasion”, not in times of war. When Lincoln did it it was constitutional, when Bush did it, it was not. Huge difference.

Winters's avatar

It’s because the bill of rights is actually more of a bill of civil liberties, so under a “loose” interpretation, they don’t even have to be there for the most part. But the government has saved most these denials of civil liberties for times of war and whatnot.

crazyivan's avatar

But the proviso that protects Habeas Corpus is not in the Bill of Rights, it’s in the Consitution itself.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you’re asking me to justify anything that the Bush administration did in this regard, I have a hard time doing it. I have a hard time justifying about 90% of the Federal government on “constitutional” grounds, as a matter of fact.

What is the justification for a “War on Drugs”?
By what lights is Obamacare legal? Or for that matter, any of HUD, “Energy Policy”, Social Security, Medicare and even NATO?

crazyivan's avatar

Can you point to anything in the constitution that expressly forbids “Obamacare”, “HUD”, Social Security, NATO or Medicare?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It doesn’t work that way. You have to show that it IS permitted by the Constitution, according to the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

jaytkay's avatar

So I guess the Air Force is unconstitutional.

Too bad, I think it’s good we have an air force.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The Air Force better not be unconstitutional being that I’ve served in it for 14 years now. I think it’s good we have one also, especially since it is the very best one on the entire planet.

crazyivan's avatar

So the vague notion that the Constitution does not expressly allow for the creation of Social Security puts it on the same footing as doing something the Constitution expressly forbids? Seems like a pretty weak argument to me. I mean, the Constitution also grants the federal government the right to:

“Make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Which, upon close examination of the “foregoing Powers” in question could easily include HUD, Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare…

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”

At best it is ambiguous. There is no ambiguity in the statement:

“The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it”

tranquilsea's avatar

Too many people will only protest the things that don’t align with their beliefs. Narrow minded in my view.

ETpro's avatar

It sure does seem the rabid right has a strange interpretation of rights being taken away. Discrimination is fine and should be institutionalized. We should move to more state support of one religion to the exclusion of all others—or none at all. And who cares about Habeas Corpus. Tea Partiers don’t speak Latin anyway.

I think when they insist they are Constitutionalists they mean they support that part about all other rights reserved to the States or the people, and the 2nd Amendment. You can pretty much dump the rest of the thing. Too hard to read, anyway.

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