Bush administration: individual rights versus national security
The issue of individual rights versus national security under the current Bush administration was raised in the May 2, 2004, article "The president's unchecked power" published in The Virginian-Pilot:
- "America has become a symbol of liberty and democracy because of our time-honored system of checks and balances on governmental power.
- "For that reason, Americans should be wary of the Bush administration's unsettling view that the courts have no right to act as a check on presidential power in wartime.
- "The debate over the trade-off between individual rights and national security has moved to its climax before the Supreme Court. Despite the new kind of war in which America finds itself, we believe the line has been drawn too far in favor of presidential powers. Now, it's up to nine high court justices to decide how America will strike a better balance."
- At issue are "two U.S. citizens, Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, who have been locked up indefinitely and denied due process in the name of national security. ... Their fates are now entangled in a sticky web of conflicting legal issues, and their cases will forever stand as legal landmarks."
- The Op-Ed concludes by saying that "Neither of these men is, from what little we know, a sympathetic figure. But each deserves the most basic constitutional -- and human -- right to rebut accusations made against him. At a time when America is trying to spread the core values of democracy abroad, it must be even more vigilant about preserving such values at home.
- "We are living in a time of ill-defined, undeclared war, where some freedoms may have to be sacrificed to ensure collective security. But these uncertain times make it even more urgent that the government be forced to defend or justify accusations for which it has imprisoned U.S. citizens and stripped them of sacred constitutional rights."