Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Rule of Law

Carla Martin made a mistake. The kind of mistake first-year law students know not to make. She made it seven times. Martin, a Transportation Security Administration lawyer working for the prosecution in Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial, coached seven witnesses by sending them trial transcripts.

Here's what the judge had to say: "I don't think in the annals of criminal law there has ever been a case with this many significant problems." Wow! I guess this shouldn't surprise anybody; it's just another example of massive government incompetence in the War on Terror.

When I look at this terrible blunder that may save Moussaoui from execution, however, I see a small glimmer of hope. Think about it—there's no question that the Bush administration would like to see Moussaoui strung up from the nearest tree. But, rather than having a kangaroo court as so many have alleged, we have a federal judge who puts the rule of law above the wishes of the current administration—just as it should be.

But let's not fool ourselves. Moussaoui's is an isolated case of a terror suspect who managed to get an actual trial in a U.S. court. Most detainees in his situation are being sodomized in Guantanamo or some other god-forsaken place where the rule of law doesn't apply—in accordance with official U.S. policy.
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