The War Against The War On Terrorism

How does a “selected, not elected” New York federal judge have jurisdiction over the military holding enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? When the ticking timebombs and mad-dog mujahideen need a Superman, Judge Jed S. Rakoff has the best cape to tug on:

A federal judge ruled Monday that the Defense Department must release the identities of hundreds of Guantanamo Bay detainees to The Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff told the government to provide the information in the form of unredacted copies of transcripts and documents related to 558 military hearings in which detainees were permitted to challenge their incarcerations.

The magisterial Moses of Left-Wing Terrorism demands “Let my people go or at least let them sue you.”

This isn’t the first time the 1995 Clinton appointee waved his worldly-wise wand in the faces of the non-believers and unilaterally attempt to impose his unelected will on the entire country:

A U.S. judge in New York struck down the federal death penalty Monday.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, a Clinton appointee, handed down the decision during pretrial rulings for two suspects accused of a torture-murder in a heroin ring.

Too many innocent people are being executed under the law for it to be constitutional, he claimed. However, none of the 31 defendants sentenced to death under the federal penalty have later been found to be innocent, the Bush administration said.

CNN continues to engage in a little wishful thinking.

The Dishonorable Judge Rakoff speaks to his activism, love of those whacky Marxists, and why he fights against the War on Terrorism from the bench in a surprisingly candid 2003 Commencement Address at his alma mater, Swarthmore:

Specifically, I would like to tell you about the worst of all Swarthmore graduates. I know there are a number of candidates for this position (your freshman roommate perhaps?). But in my book the worst of all Swarthmore graduates – because he most betrayed what Swarthmore stands for – was A. Mitchell Palmer, class of ’91 … as in 1891.

After graduating from Swarthmore, Palmer launched a career as a progressive Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania. In 1912, he played a key role in securing the Democratic Party nomination for Woodrow Wilson, and in return he was rewarded with various posts in the Wilson administration, ultimately becoming Attorney General in 1919. So far, so good.

But with the dislocations that followed World War I, 1919 was also a year of turmoil and upheaval abroad, and corresponding insecurity at home. In the summer of 1919, a Marxist or an anarchist – no one was quite sure which – blew himself up while attempting to detonate a bomb on Mr. Palmer’s front lawn. Utilizing his broad powers as Attorney General, Palmer reacted with what came to be known as the “Palmer Raids.” Beginning in the Fall of 1919 and continuing through the following May, he directed Government agents, led by a very young but already zealous J. Edgar Hoover, to arrest, without warrants, literally thousands of Americans, mostly immigrants with leftist leanings. All of them were held without bail, and many were held incommunicado, without access either to counsel or to the judicial process. Where they were aliens, they were summarily deported; where not, they were frequently detained for prolonged periods on the flimsiest of charges.

At first no one protested. The general public supported the raids with patriotic fervor, and most politicians were afraid to dissent. Because most charges were dropped before the cases could be brought before judges, few judges had any opportunity to register their disapproval. Indeed, the Palmer Raids might have continued for years had not a group of prominent private citizens, most of them leaders of the bar in major U.S. cities, publicly denounced the raids in a report issued in the Spring of 1920 entitled “Illegal Practices of the United States Department of Justice.” With the example of their courage on display, hundreds of other prominent citizens came forward to criticize the raids, public opinion turned, the raids ceased, and Palmer was disgraced.


Now why today – this day of joy and celebration at your own graduation – do I bother you with this history of Swarthmore’s most infamous graduate? Because, as George Santayana so famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Ironically (and regretfully), no one today remembers George Santayana. But it does not take a Swarthmore education to figure out that the same combination of insecurity and xenophobia that led to the Palmer Raids – and to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, to the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II, and to McCarthyism in the 1950’s – is alive and well in certain corridors of power today.

How did the Palmer Raids begin again? The Judge just glossed right over that:

In April of 1919, a bomb blew off the hands of a maid opening the mail of the Georgia senator. Over the course of the next several days, Manhattan postal officials discovered and intercepted 34 more identical mail bombs which targeted influential figures such as J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Anarchy seemed to be on the loose. When another bomb (one of several directed at legislators and businessmen across the East Coast) later blasted the front of his Washington home in June, A. Mitchell Palmer, newly appointed Attorney General, took action.

Rakoff’s most hated Swarthmore graduate is a turncoat “Progressive Democrat” who decided to take on the anarchists and Marxists who were sending letter bombs in the mail to people. That says it all doesn’t it?


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  2. With the Alito vote coming up, it’s good to remember who the real activist judges are. Giving US Constitutional Rights to foreign terrorists. Or taking the judicial sledgehammer to slam the square peg of your own idea of “social justice” into the round hole of jurisprudence.

  3. One of the news channels was teasing with a phrase like “What is the biggest challenge in the war on terror?” the other day. I didn’t even have to weigh options to answer – “Getting Democrats to let us fight it.”

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