Is the US Constitution a suicide pact after all?

The US Supreme Court has just decided to allow terror suspects captured in foreign combat to challenge their detention in Federal civilian courts. This decision contradicts US law for the last 232 years, through the Civil War and the two World Wars. According to AP:

"...the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court's liberal justices were in the majority.   ... The lawyer for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's one-time driver, said he will seek dismissal of the charges against Hamdan based on Thursday's ruling. A military judge had already delayed the trial's start to await the high court ruling." 

This ruling comes seven years after the 9/11 attacks, including a direct attack on the Pentagon and an aborted suicide attack believed to be aimed at the Capitol or the White House itself.

The White House said it is studying the ruling. But even if this is a narrowly defined decision, there is no question that the ACLU will try to broaden it to make it apply to all captured combatants on any circumstances.

The US Supreme Court has opened a Pandora's Box. It is hard to see any legal barrier against giving enemy combatants Miranda rights, applying civilian rules of evidence to armed combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of preemptive action against terrorists. Preemption is only possible for military action --- until now. It is not possible in domestic crimes, because criminals must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Combatants now seem to be entitled to speedy trial, the presumption of innocence, and the right to be released immediately -- where, in the United States? -- if they are detained too long. If we capture a terror chief tomorrow in Iraq or Afghanistan, how many weeks can we keep him? How many of our soldiers will die because professional mass killers are released willy-nilly to kill again?

We have all suddenly become far more vulnerable to terrorist attack than ever before.

It is often said that "the US Constitution is not a suicide pact." Five Supreme Court Justices now seem so seduced by their untrammeled power and the illusion of perfect justice, that that the suicide rule may have to be revised. From now on, for liberals, the US Constitution is a suicide pact.

Welcome to the United States of Liberal America, where righteous fantasies prevail over very real threats to our survival.

The world has just become more dangerous, courtesy of the Supremes.

James Lewis blogs at