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Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:10 AM

 

Is the Constitution "just a piece of paper"?

Bradley Manning is back in the news. Or sort of. Only the British Guardian provided coverage of his testimony with the type of detail that the American press ignored. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33224.htm

His trial - or extended lack of it until now - raises some Constitutional questions. And his trial raises related questions.

How does the reported military holding of Manning incommunicado for more than 900 days, without a trial, compare with the number of days that it has held any other prisoner incommunicado? And under the conditions which Manning was held?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33224.htm

Is anyone besides the military responsible for this? The military didn't act alone. The military didn't act in a vacuum. The military didn't do this without oversight.

How does the Obama Administration's act of holding Manning incommunicado for more than 900 days, without a trial, compare with the number of days that it has held any other prisoner incommunicado? And under the conditions which Manning was held?

Even if we assume that Manning released the video showing the helicopter gunship gunning down civilians including children (and I assume that it is true), and even if we assume that Manning released copies of diplomatic cables showing the perfidy of the those involved in the military-industrial complex (and I also assume that this is true), are we supposed to overlook this type of cruel and unusual pre-trial punishment of Manning because President Obama has a big "D" after his name? Are we supposed to cheer "Hooray for our team"?

In April 2001, almost 300 law professors and other scholars (including Laurence Tribe, a widely recognized as a leading liberal scholar of Constitutional law) signed a letter to the Obama Administration. In it, they pointed out something that should be obvious to any law professor or former law professor: The detention conditions violates the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.

The names of those who initiated the letter (Professors Ackerman and Benkler) and the others signing the letter be found here:
http://web.archive.org/web/20110409205745/http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/03/statement-on-private-mannings-detention.html

Are all those law professors wrong?

Does the Constitution still prohibit cruel and unusual punishment? Or has the view that the Constitution is "just a piece of paper" replaced it?

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Reply Is the Constitution "just a piece of paper"? (Original post)
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 OP
Bandit Dec 2012 #1

Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 11:42 AM

1. It has been "just a piece of paper" for quite some time now

"War on Drugs" has helped destroy the concepts inshrined within, but way back in the "Untouchables" time with J Edgar Hoover it was pushed aside for another "War on Drugs" only it was called Prohibition. It has been on a long downhill slope for some time now and with the "War on Terror" is has been all but completely cast aside..

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