Hamdan Decision and the Thomas Dissent: Death by Footnotes

John O’Neil and Scott Shane report on this decision that tells King George that the Constitution is still alive. I just want to highlight one aspect of this decision:

Justice Thomas took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench, the first time he has done so in his 15 years on the court. He said that the ruling would “sorely hamper the president’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy.” … In his dissent, Justice Thomas cited a recent ruling in an environmental case to argue that the majority was being inconsistent in order to denigrate the president’s powers. “Those Justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief’s wartime decisions, only 10 days ago deferred to the judgment of the Corps of Engineers with regard to a matter much more within the competence of lawyers, upholding that agency’s wildly implausible conclusion that a storm drain is a tributary of the United States,” Justice Thomas wrote. “It goes without saying that there is much more at stake here than storm drains.”

Did you get his “logic” here? Neither did Justice Stevens:

For his part, Justice Stevens devoted a long string of footnotes to dissecting what he at one point called Justice Thomas’s “remarkable view” of the case.

Who knew that a Supreme Court justice would have mastered the art of snark!

It also turns out that Justice Thomas is a chickenhawk. Speaking of chickenhawks, let’s see what the folks at the National Review think of this Supreme Court decision. Mark Levin proves his does not understand the US Constitution:

Congress and the Court are systematically stripping the presidency of war-making powers. Congress demands that the president get court approval before intercepting enemy communications (we call that intelligence gathering) and the Court demands that the president get statutory support from Congress before he can use military tribunals to try terrorists.

I guess Levin is not aware of the FISA Courts, which have allowed the government to be quite effective at intelligence gathering. Levin’s display of illiteracy continues:

The battle against terrorism is being fought as much in our courtrooms as on the field in Iraq and other places – where the likes of the ACLU and activist judges will set policy in contravention of the Constitution … Congress and the courts are conferring rights and privileges on terrorists. They are conferring constitutonal protections on the enemy. They are granting the enemy jurisdiction in our civilian courts. They are extending the Geneva Conventions to an enemy that is specifically excluded from those protections.

Respecting our obligations under treaties signed with most of the nations is something that would not exist in Mark Levin’s America. Being able to conduct fair trials as we provide security for our citizens would be considered an impossibility in Mark Levin’s America. Thank goodness that our Supreme Court thinks more of America than the folks at the National Review.

Update: Jonah Goldberg sees a partisan opportunity emanating from the Hamdan decision:

Basically the Court threw the whole issue in Congress’ lap. Right? They have to decide what to do with detainees. Well, here you have Nancy Pelosi saying the decision was not only a “triumph” but that “Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system.” If you were running for Congress as a Republican, wouldn’t you be tempted to run that quote over pictures of the 9/11 hijackers and the World Trade Center crashing down? Hamdan makes national security and terrorism a central issue of the Congressional elections, again. That’s good news for the GOP, I think.

Shorter Jonah: advocating fair trials is treason in the National Review’s America.

Update II: Let’s see what like would be like in Saxby Chambliss’s America:

In today’s USA Today, Chambliss argues that the controversial NSA call database, which has been secretly logging the phone records of millions of Americans, actually doesn’t go far enough – and that it would work better to have records of every telephone company. “On the birthday of our nation, it would be nice if Senator Chambliss showed some respect for our 219-year-old Constitution. Not many Americans like the idea of government trolling through their phone records, nor would they think what we really need is to expand government intrusion,” said Christy Setzer, communications director, Senate Majority Project. “Is this Saxby Chambliss’s idea of respect for the Founding Fathers and the principles that make America great?”