Tuesday, November 21, 2006


According to historical lore, King John (circa 1215) was a little man, out of touch with the affairs of state and so recklessly ineffectual that nearly he lost hold of Britannia’s golden crown.

Humankind was the beneficiary of King John’s incompetence. Compelled to sign the Magna Carta or risk losing both his throne and his head, that document was the essential beginning of a new era in government: the age of human rights.

At its foundation was the principle of Habeas Corpus: The right to challenge one’s imprisonment by requiring that the government produce evidence before a court of law.

Nearly eight centuries later, a little man from Crawford, Texas, out of touch and recklessly ineffectual, has somehow parlayed a mandate of fear into a repeal of Habeas Corpus in the most powerful and influential democracy on earth.

History is filled with ironies but this is an irony of epic proportions.

Memo to Congress: Repeal the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and restore the judiciary to its rightful role as the ultimate check on executive power.