While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is advocating limits to judicial independence, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, our own Sen. Arlen Specter, seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
On the recent passage of the detainee legislation, quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The Constitution expressly says you can’t suspend habeas corpus unless you have an invasion or a rebellion,” Specter said.
“I did my best to get Congress to do the job, and when I couldn’t get sufficient votes, the next alternative is the courts,” he continued. “This is not going to stop somebody from filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus. They are going to file it. I think the District Court may disregard the statute and go ahead and hear it.”
Read: Congress can’t be trusted to pass decent legislation, so let’s leave it to the courts to correct our mistakes.
Looks like Specter’s keeping the job market open for “activist judges.” I’m all in favor of judicial independence. But how can we trust Congress to hold the administration accountable for its abuses of power if they won’t hold themselves accountable for enacting legislation that passes constitututional muster?
Jess in Philly