Friday, July 31, 2009

President Obama passes a critical test: recognition of judicial authority

If I am going to bash his administration for what I think it does wrong, then I have to acknowledge when it rises to the challenge.

Recently, when a Federal judge ordered a Gitmo detainee freed, I said that now was the time to find out if we were a nation of laws, and if the Obama administration would react like Andrew Jackson or follow the law.


Reporting from Washington — Avoiding a showdown with a federal judge, the Obama administration agreed Wednesday to release from Guantanamo Bay an Afghan prisoner who was captured as a teenager and held nearly seven years for allegedly throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers.

The government said it would "promptly release" Mohammed Jawad, now 23, and send him to Afghanistan -- but only after it sent a required notification to Congress explaining whether his release would pose a risk to national security. That will take 22 days, the administration said.

They followed the law. This is a good sign, but only a start.


Brian Shields said...

How does it take 22 days to do a threat assessment of a 7 year prisoner? Shouldn't they just pull some info from his current file, and print it out?

22 Days seems like a long, specific amount of time.


tom said...

They needed to be sure that Congress would be on vacation when it arrived, thereby creating further excuses to delay his release.

Steve Newton said...

If you go back and read the judge's ruling, the 22 days thing actually comes from it: she gave them a series of deadlines to file different paperwork with different agencies (including Congress) and they are saying that they will meet those deadlines.

Anonymous said...

Obama has actually been pretty good on the whole checks and balances/separation of powers idea. I've actually been pleasantly surprised. He's letting Congress alone to write legislation and this judicial matter is another bonus point. I did not expect this level of separation from the Democratic Congress and a Democratic president.

The cynic in me wonders if it's all just political maneuvering and not some actual ideological and ethical belief, but even it is he still gets high marks in that regard so far. He's certainly not been perfect, but at least he's heading in the right direction.

Libertarian in Colorado