July 3rd, 2006

coyote Phil


The Supreme Court ruling on the Administration's war crimes tribunal has brought some interesting things to light. It is remarkable that the US has been holding criminal trials in which the accused criminal was not allowed to be present, and the defense was not allowed to hear the evidence against them, let alone respond to it. But the Bush administration came up with an ingenious twist that even Stalin never thought of: The charge of conspiracy.

You're used to hearing conspiracy charges within a context, as in, "conspiracy to commit fraud" or "conspiracy to commit murder". The Bush administration came up with the idea of just charging people with conspiracy itself, without any associated crime. This is known in technical legal terms as "guilty by association". Fortunately, the Supreme Court - that is, those of the justices who seem actually to have read the Constitution - gave it the thumbs down.