Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

WAR POWERS COURT

Jun 25 2008

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Mr. Speaker, forget about the days of judicial restraint. Those are the days when the Supreme Court thought their job was to interpret the law and follow the Constitution. The Supreme Court now has ushered in a new era power grab called judicial imperialism.

   Recently, the deeply divided Supreme Court, or the war powers court, as we shall call it, issued a ruling by Justice Kennedy that gave terrorists the right to argue their cases in Federal courts. In this 5-4 decision, the court held that terrorism detainees captured on the battlefield engaged in war against America now held at Guantanamo Bay prison and other prison facilities under U.S. control have the same rights as American citizens.

   When I was at Gitmo prison, which I doubt Justice Kennedy has ever seen, I saw several detainees that had been captured, released, and captured again on the battlefield trying to kill Americans. I'm sure these enemy combatants are partying in Guantanamo prison tonight.

   Under the current law, individuals captured as enemy combatants have their cases reviewed by military commissions. It has always been the law under our Constitution that the President is the Commander in Chief of the military, and the President and Congress control war, not the nine justices on the Supreme Court. But the imperialistic war powers court ruled that these military commissions aren't fair enough for enemy combatants trying to kill American troops. It's interesting. These terrorists hate America, hate freedom, hate our way of life but quickly run to American courts to seek redress against Americans.

   The five war power judges on the Supreme Court say these poor little misfits should have access to American courts, even though it is the first time in history we have given constitutional rights to combatants against the United States. Even in the War between the States, captured Confederate soldiers who were actually born in the United States were not allowed access to U.S. courts. They were tried by military tribunals. The same occurred in World War II when Nazis were tried by military tribunals. During the Revolutionary War, British spy John Andre was caught on U.S. soil spying with traitor Benedict Arnold. Andre was hung by the Commander in Chief, George Washington, and a military court without any judicial intervention.

   So what is next? Are we going to make our boys read terrorists their Miranda rights in the battlefield before they capture them? Justice Scalia was right, Mr. Speaker. In his dissent he argued that this ruling will make the war on terror harder on us and will ``almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.''

   The Supreme Court is running roughshod over the Constitution of the United States and changing 200 years of judicial precedent. In fact, at the end of World War II, the Supreme Court explicitly determined in a series of cases that the writ of habeas corpus--that's an action that allows a person to seek relief from detention--does not apply to foreign combatants held outside the United States.

   It gets down to this question, Mr. Speaker: Who should be running our wars? Should Congress and the executive branch be in charge of war, or should the Supreme Court, in all of its supreme knowledge, be running the war?

   Well, according to the war powers court, they are the commanders in chief of the war. Now what does the imperialist war court want us to do with captured terrorists? Not capture them at all, or let them go so they can kill again?

   While terrorists continue to use innocent women and children as shields, continue to bomb our troops,