Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Nobel prize for parsing

My nominee for this year is the Honorable Attorney General of the United States. Clause 2, Section 9, Article 1 of the US Constitution reads:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

In testimony before the Senate judiciary committee on January 18, 2007, Mr. Gonzalez averred that this actually means that

"... the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by — ..."

A transcript of his deeply thoughtful remarks is available here.

A finer example of a legal mind in the service of freedom I am yet to find.


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