Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A prediction

Jack Balkin among others has been analyzing the increasingly astonishing torture and detention legislation that is marching through Congress. One important thing in assessing this legislation: one should NOT read it as a lawyer interpreting text in good faith to determine its best meaning. Rather, one should ask oneself two questions: (1) how will Bush Administration officials interpret it, and (2) what recourse outside of Administration channels, and beyond the Administration's control, will it leave to people who are taken into custody. The short answer is: You really don't want to know, especially if you like sleeping soundly at night.

I predict that, if this legislation passes and the Republicans hold Congress, there will be disappearances of American citizens in the next two years. My guess is that it will at least initially be people in the Noam Chomsky camp, rather than those less far to the left, and that it will be unclear whether anyone has actually been taken into custody.

I do think that people closer to the center, such as Frank Rich and Paul Krugman, will genuinely and seriously have to ask themselves (whether or not they write about it) whether they are at risk of being disappeared as well.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Seems like liberty is an alien concept to executive branch as is the constitution.

Buce said...

If we're going to do this to Enemies of the People, is there any good reason not to apply it to pedarests? To serial rapists? To violators of Sarbanes-Oxley?

Daniel Shaviro said...

You forget that pederasts are a protected class, at least in the eyes of the Republican Congressional leadership.