Matthew Continetti (2008), writing for The Weekly Standard, argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush, arrogant and dangerous. The decision, he says, gives war criminals held in the prison at Guantanamo Bay the right to due process, just as if they were American citizens. Continetti argues that the Supreme Court’s decision is wrong because it gives leftist activist groups control over the war, usurps the rights of the other branches of government, and went against legal precedent.
He argues that Kennedy, by saying that because Guantanamo Bay was under the “de facto” rule of the United States, its prisoners ought to be afforded the same rights as other citizens, opens the door for enemy combatants in other nations where the United States has some control to petition the courts for a trial. Continetti further argues that allowing enemy combatants the same trial rights as U. S. citizens would be hard to accomplish. It might require soldiers and intelligence agents to come to court in order to testify.
It would, says Continetti, be hard to provide the court with enough evidence to prosecute such combatants. Continetti questions whether this would mean that the courts would throw the cases out. Finally, Continetti says that the ruling was an act of hatred by liberals, who will not see what a dangerous measure it is. Kingsbury Summary Alex Kingsbury (2008), writing for U. S. News and World report, says that, because of a ninth district court of appeals ruling, customs officials may confiscate laptops with impunity. The court, he says, argues that searching a laptop is like searching a person’s briefcase.
While Kingsbury says that even civil libertarians are in favor of searching laptops in order to ensure that Americans are safe from terrorism, and while he gives a nod to the argument of customs officials that searching in such a manner is necessary to catch child pornographers, he objects to their use of confiscated information. According to Kingsbury, officials sometimes make copies of the hard drives of confiscated laptops. These drives, he says, carry account information and passwords of everything from movie rental sites to bank information.
Kingsbury cites the argument of Electronic Privacy Information Center Executive Director Marc Rotenburg, that, while the government sometimes searched briefcases to find dangerous material, it did not confiscate such cases in order to copy the papers and files found in them. He also cites one lawyer who declares that he is unaware of any governmental authority that would allow for copying laptop files. Continetti Analysis America’s founding father’s held the belief that all men were “created equal.
” If Americans, therefore, deserve the right to due process, even when they kill others, then other men, even those in Guantanamo Bay, deserve such rights as well. But Continetti is right. It is not the Supreme Court’s job to invent new laws. That is the place of the legislature. Congress, not the Supreme Court, ought to extend such rights to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. There are a number of questions left unanswered in Conitinetti’s article. One is whether or not the cases of prisoners who were unable to provide the courts with evidence would be thrown out.
Another is, if the cases were thrown out, would the prisoner be set free or would he remain in the Gitmo? It seems likely that the cases would be thrown out, just as they are in the cases of American citizens. Just as American citizens are sometimes set free when not enough evidence is available to hold them, prisoners at the Gitmo might be set free. This could be a very dangerous scenario. Conitinetti’s article is not at all unbiased. He points his finger at hateful liberals, indicating that he, himself, is writing from a conservative perspective.
Kingsbury Analysis The decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is strange, as the court tends to rule in favor of freedom, rather than protection. Nevertheless, one can understand why the court would wish the government to have the power to examine laptops, if the machines might lead to the prevention of terrorist acts. The arguments Kingsbury (2008) presents against the duplication of hard drives are not bad, however, if, indeed, laptops are seized in order to prevent terror, then the government ought to be afforded the time needed to examine such files.
If duplication is the means by which this must be done, then duplication may be a necessary evil. If the government is not allowed to copy and confiscate files, then it may as well not have the right to seize the computers in the first place. The Kingsbury article does not address the reasons why officials choose to duplicate hard drives. If the duplication is simply done for the purpose of investigation, perhaps it is not such a bad thing. If information on hard drives is being used to obtain intelligence on innocent Americans, there might be a real problem with it.
Since the government has a bad track record when it comes to respecting individual privacy, it is likely enough that the data is being mishandled by some officials. While the author seems to have a bias against laptop seizure, he has not voiced this view. Instead, he relies on the quotes of others to frame his story. His article does seem fair. Works Cited Continetti, Matthew. “The Gitmo Nightmare. ” The Weekly Standard, June 23, 2008: 9. Kingsbury, Alex. “When Uncle Sam Can Nab Your Laptop :A legal backlash grows against airport seizures. ” U. S. News and World Report, July 2008: 22.