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Jewish World Review July 1, 2004 / 12 Tamuz, 5764

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
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Our runaway Supreme Court | All in all, thanks to the Supreme Court of the United States, it was a pretty good week for imprisoned terrorists and pornographers. Let's start with the terrorists.

In cases challenging the Executive Branch's authority to retain custody of Americans or foreign "enemy combatants" seized during overseas military operations, the Court ruled that these detainees have the right to federal court review of the legality of their detention. Exactly how, where, and using what rules of evidence, is up in the air. But one thing is for sure, our federal court system, already backlogged, is preparing for what is sure to be an avalanche of litigation filed by the 600+ detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

How big is the monster the Court has created here? Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting in Rasul v. Bush, warned that "the court boldly extends the scope of the habeas statute to the four corners of the earth." In his lone dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (involving a detained American combatant), Justice Clarence Thomas, wrote "no governmental interest is more compelling than the security of the Nation," and that the President — the official primarily responsible for safeguarding our security — must necessarily be allowed to use "broad discretion" to carry out his duty.

Yes, the Court reaffirmed the general obligation and right of the Executive Branch to classify certain detainees as "enemy combatants." Yes, the Court recognized that federal courts must give substantial deference to the Executive Branch in its consideration of the habeas corpus petitions. But much like we saw in the Warren court era (think "exclusionary rule," Miranda warnings), the current Supreme Court has once again made it more difficult for our country to protect itself from real danger. Now a captured enemy combatant has been handed a new weapon courtesy of the Supreme Court — the right to litigate against, and waste the resources of, our government. Thanks a bunch.

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Yet the cheers weren't just coming from the cells at Gitmo this week. The smut kings were doing a victory dance too. The Court, in a 5-4 squeaker, ruled that the Child Online Protection Act — signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998 and passed by a bipartisan majority in Congress — is overbroad and may infringe on an adult's ability to get pornography. The horror!

"There is a potential for extraordinary harm and a serious chill upon protected speech," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. To heck with the extraordinary harm posed to children. By the way, this is the second time Congress has rewritten the law to attempt to satisfy the Supreme Court. But Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown once again.

We get frustrated, and understandably so, when we feel that our elected officials get so caught up in preserving their own power that they avoid tackling important issues. Yet this week, we see how that when our elected officials actually did try to take serious action on two major fronts — protecting us from terrorism and protecting our children from pornography — the Supreme Court kicked them in the teeth.

As impatient and irritated as we can get with the other two branches of government, we should now properly direct our anger at the judiciary. It is simply out of control. These cases are only the latest in a long line of Supreme Court cases where the will of the people and the original meaning of the Constitution have been trampled. Any one who calls himself a conservative today will have to think seriously about backing legislation to restrict the reach of the federal courts.

Endnote: Ironically, at the same time the Supreme Court was undermining efforts by Congress to shield children from on-line porn, President Bush was in Turkey trying to persuade the Arab and Muslim world that embracing democracy does not lead to depravity:

"Some people in Muslim cultures identify democracy with the worst of Western popular culture, and want no part of it. And I assure them, when I speak about the blessings of liberty, coarse videos and crass commercialism are not what I have in mind. There is nothing incompatible between democratic values and high standards of decency. For the sake of their families and their culture, citizens of a free society have every right to strive peacefully for a moral society."

Excellent insight — if only the Supreme Court agreed.

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JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and the author of the just released "Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America". Comment by clicking here.

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03/30/04: Friends, What Friends?
02/27/04: Order in the Court!
02/17/04: Have they no decency?
01/22/04: The Dean bubble
01/09/04: Jumping conservatives at the border
11/20/03: The Media Misses the Point — Again
10/29/03: The attack of the open border elites
09/11/03: Blame America redux
09/04/03: Back To School, or Back to...Sex?
08/27/03: The elites' anti-religion obsession
08/14/03: Dems whine, democracy shines
08/12/03: What would Reagan do?
08/06/03: Hillary, courtside
07/30/03: Gray skies just got darker
07/23/03: Sticking it to the Children
07/08/03: He's not invincible
07/01/03: It's time to take back the Constitution
04/01/03: Peter Arnett's MOAB
03/25/03: The Dems' Michael Moore Problem
03/18/03: Dixie Chicken out
03/11/03: The real predator drones
03/04/03: The French PR machine crashes
02/25/03: Keep us safe --- let's be more like Europe!
02/11/03: Hollywood loves dictators
02/05/03: First Amendment frauds in Cincinnati
01/28/03: The elites versus the voters
01/22/03: Playing (and losing) Homeland Security politics
01/14/03: What have you done for the free world lately?
12/17/02: Who is the better leader: Gore or Lott?
12/10/02: Who, more than anyone else, is actively advancing the cause of civil liberties around the world?
12/04/02: 'Tis the season to hope for the worst
11/27/02: The Federal P.C. Police Versus Small Business Owners (Cont'd)
11/19/02: Bipartisan moves to reward illegals
11/13/02: Eminem, a rebel? You gotta be kidding!
11/05/02: In defense of low turnout
10/30/02: Hell, no they won't go!
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09/26/02: How lucky we are that the Straight Talk Express drove off the cliff!
09/18/02: What Jackson and Sharpton know about conservatives
09/12/02: The Today Show v. guns
08/27/02: Bush not attending the UN-sponsored "bash Amerika" conference!?
08/20/02: The NEA: Let the anti-American indoctrination begin!
08/13/02: Bubba's revenge
08/07/02: Bilingual bust continues its drag on our schools
07/30/02: Dems love for big lawyers=big opportunity
07/23/02: No time for vacation
07/16/02: Is Homeland Security all wet?
06/25/02: The firing season has arrived
06/18/02: Picking the next chief
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06/07/02: The Bush administration's foul ball
05/30/02: Post-feminism in the aftermath of 9-11
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05/15/02: Former presidents who don't understand the word "former"
05/07/02: Ozzy deified, many mortified, drugs glorified?
05/01/02: Bush: "California here I come ... sort of"
04/27/02: The good news about conservatives versus Bush
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04/09/02: Preview of 2004: See how Dick runs!
01/29/02: A kinder, gentler human-rights violator?
11/27/01: Military tribunals provide streamlined justice
09/07/01: Scariest animal wears pants
08/17/01: Depressed after seeing uncut version of Apocalypse Now --- and for good reason
07/20/01: The other, maybe more important, news
06/22/01: Washington's pro-Bono worship is unnerving
06/01/01: Burying conservatism
05/17/01: Ashcroft's abuse of power

© 2002, Laura Ingraham