Thursday, July 28, 2005

Judicial Arrogance

And people wonder why the courts are perceived as activist. Here in Seattle we have a case where a notorious would be bomber is convicted, given a relatively light sentence, and the judge uses the occasion, not to criticize the guilty terrorist, but attack US policy on cases where he has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour sentenced Ahmed Ressam to a 22-year prison term yesterday for attempting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the millennium's eve, and used the occasion to unleash a broadside against secret tribunals and other war on terrorism tactics that abandon "the ideals that set our nation apart."

"The tragedy of Sept. 11 shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism," said Coughenour in a voice edged with emotion. "Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

I would like Judge Coughenour to explain, how Miranda rights, habeas corpus, and other niceties of the judicial system are supposed to be carried out on stateless terrorist extremists captured on foreign battlefields, not in Port Angeles. Just do your job judge, leave it up to the lawmakers, and the judges ruling on the cases to decide it, if it comes to that. If you want to editorialize, quit your job and write for the Times.