It's the Constitution, Stupid

Writing in dissent to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that ruled that "enemy combatant" prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay cannot be denied the right to challenege their detention, Justice Scalia wrote the following:

"America is at war with radical Islamists," Scalia wrote, adding that the decision "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." [NY Newsday]

Do we need any more proof that Scalia values his own opinions and viewpoints more than he values the Constitution of the United States of America? The supreme law of the land is full of all kinds of stuff that causes more Americans to be killed on a regular basis. Exhibit A: How many people are killed each year as a direct result of our guaranteed right to keep and bear arms?

Now, I'm not arguing we should take away that right even though it might save thousands of lives every year. It's a right granted to the people by the Constitution! So why does Scalia want to allow the President to suspend the right of habeas corpus?

We are quick to lionize our country's soldiers who dedicate their lives and often lose their lives, ostensibly in service to our freedom. This is fitting and just. Shouldn't we all have that kind of dedication? Shouldn't we all be willing to risk our lives in defense of freedom? Not all of us have the skills, abilities, and motivation necessary to join the armed forces, but can't we at least serve freedom by supporting the Constitution and not taking rights away from others? What kind of cowardice is it to ask others to take actions for freedom that may risk their lives, when you are unwilling to support freedom by doing nothing?

2008.06.16 at 12:00am EDT