Monthly Archives: February 2007

Testing the Military Commissions Act: Hamdan and Khadr REDUX

SCOTUSblog posts on two important new tests of the Military Commissions Act’s viablity and constitutionality. Two men held by the US military, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemini, and Omar Khadr, a Canadian, filed a combined appeal with the Supreme Court, of two lower court rulings holding that they, as “Detainees,” had lost the right to challenge their detention. No docket number as assigned yet, but the case name is Hamdan v. Gates/Khadr v. Bush.

Both men raise this as their initial question: “Do individuals detained as alleged enemy combatants at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba have access to habeas corpus under the Constitution or by statute?”

In both men’s cases, the answer from the courts thus far has been “no.” As to their current pleading before the Supreme Court:

[T]heir petition also poses these two added questions: [(1)] Is the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which purports to strip federal courts of habeas jurisdiction with respect to Guantanamo Bay detainees, unconstitutional because it violates separation of powers, the Bill of Attainder Clause, and Equal Protection guarantees? [(2)] Even if the MCA validly withdraws habeas jurisdiction over petitions filed by individuals detained as alleged enemy combatants, are the petitioners in this case who are facing criminal prosecution before military tribunals – and sentences of life imprisonment and death – nevertheless protected by fundamental rights secured by the Constitution, including the right to challenge the jurisdiction of such a tribunal via the writ of habeas corpus?”

As you likely know, the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA) incorporated a “habeas stripping” provision that prevents the detainees from petitioning for habeas corpus with federal courts. They’re challenging the constitutionality of the MCA, and the result is the subject of much interest. After Hamdan v. Rumsfeld through the Military Commissions process into a freefall, Congress sidled up with the Administration, pulled the MCA out of its hat, and the Administration produced the Manual for Military Commissions, a 500-odd page manual covering procedure, rules of evidence, and the rest of the commissisons process. Now that the process has started, the challenges begin.

The Hamdan part of the petition is a plea to have the Court take on his case without waiting for the D.C. Circuit to rule on an appeal he has pending there to challenge a U.S. District Court ruling last Dec. 13. Khadr is an appeal from the D.C. Circuit’s ruling on Feb. 20.

Habeas has a long and complex history that pre-dates the Constitution. Whether it may, or may not, be waived as to these “detainees,” will be an important decision for the Court–if they take up the petition for cert. More history on habeas later, if time permits.

Read the entire story at SCOTUSblog

Lime

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Filed under Appellate Law, Law, Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts’ advice: Oral Argument Without the Proverbial Foot in the Mouth

Earlier this month, Chief Justice John Roberts had some sage advice for aspiring appellate attorneys–nay, for all attorneys. Be humble, admit you might be wrong, and challenge yourself in front of the court. If you’re saying that your client is “clearly right,” then likely oral argument wouldn’t have been granted in the first place. It’s a good read:

“You don’t see it very often and it can obviously be risky, but for somebody to get up and say, ‘The biggest argument against us is’ whatever, ‘this precedent that you decided six years ago, and if you were going to follow it down the line, my client should probably lose. Here’s why I think you shouldn’t follow it in this case.’ ” He added: “I think that type of an approach could be very effective.”

Chief Justice Counsels Humility – washingtonpost.com

Lime

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Filed under Appellate Law

The Kite Runner: in Photos

For those of you who’ve read and loved The Kite Runner, as I have, here’s a pictoral essay in Wired about kiterunning. Note the bandaged finger–yes, the glass-encrusted or wire strings cut the fingers, and that’s really what it’s all about. Read the essay and, if you haven’t already, run out and get a copy of The Kite Runner. Having been to Afghanistan, I can tell you that Khaled Hosseini’s’s description of Kabul is spot-on. I’ve been in some of the houses Hossaini describes, which makes the book all the more real and tragic. A beautiful people, the Afghans. Lime

Killer Kites (bttp://blog.wired.com/wiredphotos50)


1 Comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Culture, Literature, Personal

American Law in Pictures!

Our Judicial System | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Check this out. I especially like the one about the lawyer making a good argument to his friends for the nachos. I’d never argue for the nachos.

Lime

technorati tags:

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Personal

Trompe d’Oeil: Exhibit I

Transparent Screen – felipemusica on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Almost forgot to share one with you.

technorati tags:

1 Comment

Filed under Photography

Trompe d’Oeil LCD Monitors?

w00kie’s slideshow on Flickr

Take a look. A little more than pure pabulum, I’d say it qualifies as “cool beans.”

Out.

Lime

technorati tags:

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography

ReadyBoost Compatibility Chart

ReadyBoost Compatibility Chart

For all of you smart enough–or not risk averse enough–to take the plunge into Windows Vista, read on. Vista is lovely. It’s elegant. And, through a smart tweak, you can now use SD, CF, Mini-SD cards, and USB flash memory sticks to give your system a speed boost. The recommended ratio of USB flash memory to your computer’s internally installed system RAM is at least 1:1, while you may get even more of a benefit of 2:1.

My tests have borne this out. I have 2 gig RAM installed, and at first tried a 1 gig USB stick. Worked, but it dragged and the benefit wasn’t palpable. I’m now using a SanDisk Cruiser Micro 2 gig, and it works brilliantly. Much snappier performance.

Bottom line is, the USB drive caches frequently used information, including frequently loaded programs, caches of webpages, etc, so that they can in short bursts be pulled up quickly from the stick, rather than your hard drive having to search for the programs on the hard drive.

Requirement is, however, that the memory on your USB drive be of sufficient speed to do your system any good. Vista tests the USB stick (or CF card, SD card, etc) when you first install it, and determines whether the stick is compatible. For example, the $16.00 MicroCenter 2 gig USB drive does not work.  Often this is because either all the flash memory on the stick has a too-slow transfer speed, or because the stick mixes and matches high and low speed flash memory.

Link here leads you to a site that’s tested multiple USB drives for ReadyBoost Compatibility. Good site–buy a USB stick and speed up your system. (And remember: though more expensive, you’ll get the best benefit from simply installing more internal RAM.)

Lime

technorati tags:, ,

Leave a comment

Filed under Tech, Windows Vista

Vasectomy causes Dementia???

Study Suggests Vasectomy-Dementia Link

Chicago’s Northwestern University in fact found just such a link. Apparently men with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a fairly rare condition evidenced by steady loss of language skills, are 40% likely to have undergone a vasectomy.

The general male populace has a 16% rate of vasectomies.

Looks like a link. Caution, of course, with all these studies–small pool (104 men sampled), etc, etc. The study found no such link with regard to Alzheimer’s sufferers.

What causes the link? Sandra Weintraub, PhD, theorizes that the vasectomy may breach a protective barrier between the bloodstream and testes, exposing sperm to the bloodstream. This in turn causes the body to produce “anti-sperm antibodies,” which may damage the brain. Just speculation at this point, of course. We’ll see if those 104 men are totally unrepresentative of the entire male populace.

Of course, you ALL can just go get vasectomies (assuming, you know) and we’ll see if the dementia rates shoot up.

Lime

technorati tags:

Leave a comment

Filed under Health

Taking the toxins out of your water bottle – CNET News.com

This is nothing new–there’ve been many studies that suggested that toxins leech out of those Nalgeen bottles into your water. One purported side effect is reproductive damage — genetic defects in reproduction as a result of the chemicals. The exact extent and risk, however, is unknown. This sidesteps the issue–and why not? Corn based vs. Petrol based. Energy independence! Go corn!

Lime

read more | digg story

2 Comments

Filed under Environment, Health

MC Escher in Lego

This has got to take the cake: Time and Relative Dimensions in Legos. Check it out.

When I went to my small liberal arts college, this Escher print was all the rage. Everybody had a copy in the dorm room. Frankly, now that I have kids, maybe this is the way to introduce them to Escher. I also need a Lego Don Quixote to round out my recreation of my dorm room poster collection (the Escher was my roommate’s–I’m the iconoclast).

Lime

read more | digg story

Leave a comment

Filed under Art

Vista screens?


S!lk

Originally uploaded by | HD |.

The fellow who shot the beautiful backdrops for Windows Vista has made his OTHER photos available on Flickr. Check’em out. Word is that he’ll be making large sized (appropriate for, yes, desktop backgrounds) versions available in the very near future.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Photography, Windows Vista

Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows

It’s only $20.00, and it’s great. I’ve posted in a past blog that the Xbox 360 is a godsend to anyone who wants to restart the family traditions of slideshows–the whole family sitting in front of the projector/HDTV and watching family pictures and reminiscing. Well, the Wireless Receiver lets you use any of your 360 wireless gear with your Windows PC.

For me, that means that I can use my 360 Wireless Headset with my Vista PC and Skype. Echoes are a common problem with external speakers and Skype — this is essentially like your cell’s Bluetooth headset, but for Skype.

Plus, the best game controller on the market, the 360’s, is now ready for use with your PC. $20. A good buy, highly recommended.

read more | digg story

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Tech, Windows Vista, Xbox 360