We don't want illegal immigrants fouling our shores. We should all carry the same sort of driver's license, the better for our Government to keep track of us. We should expand the DNA databases used by law enforcement to include as many people as possible. And, when we don't want to play by the rules, we should whisk people off-shore to avoid giving them access to the courts.
This is what it feels like to be an American in this brave new world where every day is a fight against the murky forces of international terrorism. And for holiday cheer our new national anthem: "Jingo Bells."
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 yesterday to uphold Military Commission Act of 2006. Thus, the administration can hold foreign nationals indefinitely so long as they are not held on U.S. territory. No habeas corpus for the darkies rendered to other lands for torture or worse. The act permits the military to decide just how much process these detaines are due.
Expect a Supreme Court challenge. The Court has twice in recent years rebuffed the administration for treating the detainees as legal outcasts. We proclaim our love of liberty and fair play to the world and then act like shame-faced hypocrites when a person seeking protection under our laws can't produce the proper identification card.
What next, a limitation of Fourtheenth Amendment claims to citizens? Of course, the constitution gives Fourteenth Amendment standing to persons aggrieved. But we're gravitating more and more toward a view that the benefits of law extend only to citizens. I can see the holding: "The plaintiff, an illegal alien, claims denial of equal protection of the law. However, his claim cannot stand. The Constitution is a compact binding people one to another. The people so bound share mutual rights and responsibilities under that contract. We hold, as a matter of logic and law, that an illegal immigrant is not a contracting party and therefore cannot avail himself or herself of this Amendment's remedies."
There is no sign that we are winning the war on terror. Al Qaeda is resurgent in Afghanistan; Iraq is a bloodbath. Our enemies seem emboldened and enraged by our policies and procedures. We've created a West Bank all our own in Guantanamo Bay. Comes next more suicide bombers, I suppose.
And then more retreat from an expansive view of the Constitution that views all people as equal and Government a mere limited means. At some point the terrorists will win. We'll look just like so much the rest of the world: Lawless and afraid both to venture outside our home and of the next knock on our door.