Horton on Padilla

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A sane and measured post, in my opinion. Read the whole thing. I'm most struck by the following passage. In college, I studied Tudor and Stuart England, which is why, perhaps, my visceral response to some of the tactics of the current executive is so strong. Because we've been here before:

With this, yet again, the Bush Administration is lining its own policies up with tyrannical practices of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centures that led ultimately to the Civil War and the legal revolution in England. The Court of Star Chamber regularly seized and tortured persons who were suspected of participating in Catholic plots against the monarchy. It was enough that the persons seized be proved to harbor sympathies with Catholic plotters who embraced terrorist methods. There was of course nothing delusional about these concerns. The plotters really existed. Moreover, they were heavily supported by hostile foreign powers, and they aimed to unsettle the country by assassinating the monarch, among other things. In the state security court of that era, there was no need to demonstrate that a person actually had taken a step to act on a planit was enough to show his sympathies and his entrance into a conspiracy.

The American Republic was founded upon a repudiation of this notion.

But in this area again, the Bush Administration has worked with determination to undo three hundred years of legal history and to reinstate tyrannical practices of the past.

In the end this concept of thought crime as a major tool for the enforcement of national security concerns is the gravest issue to arise from the Padilla case. It needs to be monitored and offset through legislation that will resurrect the legal values and principles that existed before Bush's wholesale onslaught against the Constitution began.

We can and must deter terror; we can and must conduct surveillance; we can and must find terror cells and plotters; and we need to fight them aggressively n the battlefield abroad and prosecute them carefully under the law if they are citizens at home. But the zeal and arrogance of Bush and Cheney have done this at the expense of the heart and soul of Western jurisprudence and constitutional liberty. They must not get away with it. Our inheritance is too precious to squander in a fit of panic, sadism and hubris.

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