The Supreme Court’s awful decision in the Boumediene case highlights the important differences between John McCain and Barack Obama, at least where national security is concerned. McCainreacted to the 5-4 vote as most voters will, with dismay:
Mr. McCain said here Thursday morning that he had not had time to read the decision but that “it obviously concerns me,” adding, “These are unlawful combatants; they’re not American citizens.”
Mr. McCain said he thought “we should pay attention” to the dissent by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., which argued that the steps established by the administration and Congress in creating review tribunals run by the military were more than sufficiently generous as a way for detainees to challenge their status.
Obama’s reaction, meanwhile, will please left-wing law professors and Bush-hating Democratic primary voters:
Mr. Obama issued a statement calling the decision “a rejection of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantánamo” that he said was “yet another failed policy supported by John McCain.”
“This is an important step,” he said of the ruling, “toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law….”
Of course, as Paul noted last night, what the Court’s majority overturned was not a decree by the Bush administration, it was a statute that was passed by large majorities in both the House and the Senate in 2006. The Military Commissions Act passed the Senate on a 65-34 vote, with Democratic Senators Carper, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Menendez, Nelson (Neb.), Nelson (Fla.), Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar and Stabenow voting with the Republicans. Likewise, in the House 34 Democrats joined with 219 Republicans to pass the statute. In Obama’s view, were all of these Democrats part of an attempt to “create a legal black hole at Guantanamo?” Evidently so.
This incident should remind us why Obama is regarded as the most liberal member of the Senate, a back-bencher who, unlike many of his colleagues, virtually never reaches across the aisle to cooperate with Republicans on any issue, large or small.
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