Question Of The Week

April 4th, 2008at 09:55pm Posted by Eli

John Yoo, 3/14/03 torture memo:

“…The Eighth Amendment… applies solely to those persons upon whom criminal sanctions have been imposed. As the Supreme Court has explained, the “‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause’ was designed to protect those convicted of crimes… The Eight Amendment thus has no application to those individuals who have not been punished as part of a criminal proceeding, irrespective of the fact that they have been detained by the government… The Eighth Amendment therefore cannot extend to the detention of wartime detainees, who have been captured pursuant to the President’s power as Commander in Chief…”

“The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed ‘punishment’ for purposes of the Eight Amendment… Indeed, it has long been established that captivity in wartime is neither a punishment nor an act of vengeance, but merely a temporary detention which is devoid of all penal character…”

Tony Scalia, 2/12/08 BBC interview:

To begin with, the constitution refers to cruel and unusual punishment, it is referring to… cruel and unusual punishment for a crime. But a court can do that when a witness refuses to answer or commit them to jail until you will answer the question — without any time limit on it, as a means of coercing the witness to answer, as the witness should. And I suppose it’s the same thing about “so-called” torture.

Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited under the Constitution? Because smacking someone in the face would violate the 8th amendment in a prison context. You can’t go around smacking people about. Is it obvious that what can’t be done for punishment can’t be done to exact information that is crucial to this society? It’s not at all an easy question, to tell you the truth.

Did Yoo and Scalia come up with this torture-is-okay-as-long-as-they-haven’t-been-convicted-of-anything angle independently, or did someone pass the idea to or between them?

Makes one wonder just what Dick and Tony might have talked about on those hunting trips, eh?

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Judiciary,Torture,Wankers

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