Thursday, January 18, 2007

Holding my fire on Gonzales

I read Daily Kos on a regular basis and read a post there that reported on an exchange between Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Senator Arlen Specter. Prior to forwarding this story, let me advise that after approximately six hours of internet research, with no report to confirm the Kos article by any news source I can find, and not having access to transcripts of the proceedings and not having seen them myself, I am a little dubious about this.

The original Kos diary that grabbed my attention is titled: Gonzales: Constitution does NOT guarantee Habeas Corpus by user Adigal. Part of that diary reads:
Gonzales commented that the Constitution did not guarantee habeas corpus, and Specter sounded astounded. He said that the Constitution explicitly states that habeas corpus can only be suspended in the case of invasion or rebellion.

Gonzales disagreed again, saying that the right to habeas corpus is not actually in the Constitution. Specter reiterated his point, saying that Gonzales was going against common sense.

When I read this I expected to be able to load any mainstream news site and read some sort of breaking news tag that the Attorney General had just announced his opinion that the plain language providing habeas corpus protections in the constitution had just been rescinded by Gonzales. To me. reading this for the first time, I must admit to being shocked.

Just in case anyone has any doubts, Article 1, Section 9 of the constitution reads:
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
How that is not clear, and how it could somehow be a question for debate is beyond me.

Well I'm at work so I can't watch C-Span of the hearings. In researching this particular exchange, I am not able to independently confirm that Gonazales actually said it. Which leads me to one of two conclusions. Either Adigal heard the details of the exchange entirely incorrectly, and caused a major firestorm on Kos (the original diary was recommended to the rec'd list, and it was diaried onto the front page based upon the verbiage as quoted by Adigal) based upon a non happening, or the major media have entirely dropped the ball on a major, and I do mean MAJOR story.

I'm withholding judgement at this point, until I can watch the hearings on reruns of C-Span. But let me tell you that if Adigal has it right, I will consider it a huge failure of the mainstream media to cover a mistaken belief by the Attorney General, such as has rarely if ever been exposed. I'll guarantee that if Gonzales asserted that the constitution did not guarantee the right of freedom of religion, there would be a huge uproar about that. So we shall see what we shall see...

In the meantime I'm off on Friday, so I won't be here for you all to kick around til monday. I'm certain that high keening wail I heard just now is the sound of mourning from the masses. Or maybe I just have bad gas...

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