back to article Supreme Court denies cert in el-Masri rendition case

The Supreme Court today declined certiorari in the case of El Masri v. United States, effectively endorsing the Cheney administration's notorious extraordinary rendition program. The case had been dismissed at both the district court level and the appellate level based on the administration's invocation of the state secrets …


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  1. yeah, right.
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    It really is McCarthy all over again, instead this time instead of Hollywood (now their staunch ally) the US administration is going after anyone and everyone who disagrees with it, anywhere in the world, kidnapping them, and taking them to other jurisdictions where they can torture with impunity. And their courts call this LEGAL?

    History will probably record this as another low point for the US. Right now I'm definitely avoiding going there at all given their utter lack of civil rights for non-American citizens.

  2. Adam Azarchs
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    Denial of cert != endorsement

    Denial of cert just means that, like nearly 99% of cases sent to the supreme court, they won't bother hearing it. This is not at all the same as implicitly endorsing the policy. One might argue that they really ought to have decided to hear it, and I'd agree, but it's going a bit too far to equate refusing to hear the case with endorsing it, given how rare it is for them to hear a case in general.

  3. Stephen Jackson
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    Denial of Cert is not Endorsement

    True taking a pass is not endorsement. If they wanted to endorse it they would have taken the case on. It is too fundamental (too fundamentally un-American) to take a pass on, yet they did.

    I think it means that the split court didn't know where they would land and both sides, especially the non-neocon (ie the regular conservatives & Ginsberg) thought it too important to take on without knowing they could prevail.

    Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave.

  4. heystoopid
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    Like boxing with shadows on artificial quicksand !

    How nice for we accused the Russians of hiding behind an Iron Curtain of our creation , who played by our rules all the time !

    We cheated at every turn of the dice but still to this day our Military Wankers hide behind the evil wall of deception lies and shadows where truth is never allowed to see the light of day , secure in the knowledge they are protecting their own empire at the cost of freedom and democracy !

    All these actions make those godless communist Russians at the height of the so called "Cold War" look like innocent babes in the woods !

  5. breakfast
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    It's the law

    Am I right in thinking the role of the judiciary is to apply the laws created by the people's representatives?

    If so surely they pretty much have to go with this as it's the law?

    If the American people are worried about it why don't they vote for a party who would stand against it? No point having a democracy and then complaining when the democratically elected leaders do things that you don't like. If you don't like them vote for someone else.

  6. Ian McNee

    Re: It's the law

    Oh yeah - just vote Dubya out: go yanks!

    Hey wait a minute...they DID vote Dubya out but then Dubya got his bro down in Florida to fiddle the result (which he had failed to win even after Jeb had got his cops to prevent black voters from getting to the polls...)

    Gotta love that freedom and democracy! God Ble$$ America (TM)!

  7. Stuart Finlayson
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    You don't know what you're talking about. It's not the law and it's not the wish of democratically elected legislation. State secrets privilege is a matter of precedent (that means previous court rulings), not legislation.

  8. breakfast
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    @Stuart Finlayson

    Well, if it's not the wish of the democratically elected legislative why does it get used so often? They could even choose to change it, presumably, what with them being the ones who write the law?

    Surely that's the whole point of the principle of separation of powers?

  9. Ian McNee

    Separation of powers

    Oh dear Mr breakfast, must have been a calorie-lite breakfast today, you don't seem to have engaged your brain-box on this one.

    Firstly we're talking about the EXECUTIVE interfering with the JUDICIARY - this is nothing to do with the LEGISLATURE.

    Secondly we are witnessing the use of a legal red card whereby the executive says to the judiciary: nothing to see here, move along, we've got this all in hand, no need for judicial oversight of the executive, we're the good guys and we know because we've seen the evidence that we're the good guys so you don't need to see it because we're the good guys!

    Where's the separation of powers there??

  10. breakfast

    @Separation of powers

    But if what you're saying is accurate then the core concepts of American democracy are shown to have been absolutely undermined- the Legislature have no power whatsoever while the Executive can run rough-shod over the Judiciary. If that was the case it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that the US is no longer a democratic nation.

    Surely that idea would upset a whole lot of Americans. Then again, if they don't live in a democratic country what are they going to do about it?

    Get extraordinarily renditioned for the purposes of torture, presumably.

  11. Luther Blissett


    "the core concepts of American democracy are shown to have been absolutely undermined.... what are they going to do about it?

    for (;;) consume (breakfast, ...);

  12. Ian McNee

    Re: @Separation of powers

    "If that was the case it would be hard to avoid the conclusion that the US is no longer a democratic nation" - well done for spotting my point

    "Surely that idea would upset a whole lot of Americans" - perhaps but between the large minority who are effectively disenfranchised by poverty and racism and the large minority who do well enough economically out of America plundering the rest of the world (and it's own poor) to not care about anything more than their fig-leaf of a democracy there aren't really enough left to do much about it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    And what about FISA?

    The basic argument seems to be that some cases involve potential evidence so secret that it shouldn't be published. This isn't, on the face of it, irrational. While some of the 20th Century cases now look like an abuse of privilege, the number of cases was small.

    Meanwhile, the FISA court was set up to provide warrants for wiretaps based on secret evidence. Had the legislature cared, they could have passed laws setting up a similar court, staffed by judges with security clearance, which could examine the evidence and make a judgement based on the facts.

    But in the 21st Century, the President ignores the law, including FISA, and invokes diverse and ingenious privileges more frequently than any predecessor, while neither judiciary nor legislature seems willing to stop him.

    It may be easily argued that, on available evidence, the President, the Vice-President, and many other officials, perhaps including Supreme Court Justices, could be impeached under the terms of the US Constitution for assorted "high crimes and misdemeanours. As it stands, having sworn a solemn oath to defend the US Constitution, we might consider the overwhelming majority of the legislature, judiciary, and executive to be the lowest of the low, vile scum not worthy of the attention of any true Englishmen. They are oathbreakers, and thus they are nothing. They are outside the law, and its protection, and yet less than any outlaw.

    Weshould neither speak of them nor to them. We should not acknowledge their presence in any way. We should neither sell to them nor buy from them, for they are forsworn, and by their own deeds they have thrown away all that makes them worthy of the status of a man.

    And if the God they swore by does not reward their oathbreaking, then he too is forsworn

    Maybe I should be more careful about dancing in thunderstorms?

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