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March 29, 2006

OK, Which One of You Guys Inadvertently Misplaced Habeas Corpus?

So we all do things inadvertently sometimes. We wear tops that inadvertently expose too much cleavage. We drink one too many jager bombs. We tell the quiet guy at the end of the bar that he's cute and inadvertently ask what his shoe size is. We inadvertently give out our phone number even after he tells us he just finished a lengthy stay in the pokey after inadvertently committing grand theft auto.

But one thing that we, nor any Congresscritter, would ever do inadvertently, and that would be, as The Heretik points out, is to suspend habeas corpus, whereby a prisoner in custody can challenge his or her imprisonment.

Justice Souter interrupted. "“Isn'’t there a pretty good argument
that suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is just about the most
stupendously significant act that the Congress of the United States
can take,"” he asked, "and therefore we ought to be at least a little
slow to accept your argument that it can be done from pure inadvertence?"

When Mr. Clement began to answer, Justice Souter persisted: "You are
leaving us with the position of the United States that the Congress may
validly suspend it inadvertently. Is that really your position?"”

Justice Scalia and one whacked out Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, on the other hand, think that would be a fine idea. They are pushing as hard as they can to get rid of that silly, silly legal precedent that goes back to the middle ages.