Democrats Against Military Tribunals?

Stephen Frye safrye at CONCENTRIC.NET
Sat Dec 1 08:58:02 MST 2001

>Not quite. First remember how the constitution works (or is supposed to).
>It does not grant any rights to "the people" (people have rights
>governments have powers) but rather grants specific powers to the federal
>government. Powers not explicitly granted to the federal government or
>prohibited to the states belong to the states or the people. Among those
>granted is suppressing rights under very specific circumstances and only
>then through due process. So the question is, does the constitution grant
>the power to the federal government to suppress the rights of various
>classes of "the people?" No right is absolute. Again IIRC, the SCOTUS has
>interpreted the constitution to have 4 classes of "the people" each
>afforded different degrees of protection. The only class entitled to full
>constitutional rights is limited to natural born Americans who have reached
>the age of majority. Naturalized citizens enjoy all but one right (i.e. the
>right to run for POTUS). Legal residents are entitled to rights associated
>with most civil liberties but not to those associated with participating in
>government. Illegal residents are mostly limited to human rights, as I said
>previously, mostly due process. Citizens (including naturalized) are
>entitled to the same rights, by the US government, on foreign soil as they
>are in the US. Everyone else, on foreign soil have no rights protected by
>the constitution. Military tribunals on foreign soil of non-citizens are
>beyond the reach of the constitution and are subject only to military law.
>Military tribunals on US soil are unconstitutional for legal residents and
>citizens. They are completely constitutional for illegal immigrants as long
>as  basic human rights are concerned (e.g. torture, forced labor,
>starvation, denial of medical care for life threatening conditions,
>indefinite incarceration without due process). If the illegal immigrant
>requests political asylum, of course, it is a whole other ball game. The
>kicker in this is posse commatatus. Military tribunals cannot preside over
>issues associated with local or state violations. That is, they cannot act
>on an illegal immigrant (other the to simply deport) for robbing the corner
>gas station or killing the attendant. It gets real fuzzy if the act of the
>illegal immigrant is considered an act of war or terrorism. There are
>probably some things that will have to be tested in the courts.

Agreed on all points.  I am not sure if we differ philosophically or
not.  Though there are certain rights afforded under the constitution, I
tend to believe the Constitution is more to protect rights than to grant
them.  I think you response writes agreement.

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