…if you’re only going to continue the same practices on U.S. soil? That’s what a coalition of civil libertarians is asking. “Bringing the practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial to any location within the United States will further harm the rule of law and adherence to the Constitution,” they say. TAPped blogger S. Serwer notes,
From a civil libertarian point of view, we’re in a much worse place than we were during the Bush administration, when Democrats were willing to oppose Bush’s expansive claims of executive authority. Now we have only muted criticism from Democratic legislators and hysterical cries from Republicans that Obama isn’t going far enough.
The effect of this is to move debate in the anti-liberty direction: under Bush, Democrats — for largely partisan reasons, to be sure — pushed against his detention policy. The resistance to executive policy was coming from the direction of civil liberties. Now the resistance to Obama’s executive-detention policies is coming not from the Democrats, who have shucked their scruples, but from Republicans who — for reasons of ideology as well as self-interest — demand even greater exertions of executive power. The voice of civil liberties has been excluded from debate within government. The groundwork has already been laid to push things further whenever Obama chooses to expand his power or whenever the GOP retakes the White House.