Clever ignoramus

It's hard to believe George Will wrote these words:

The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Well.

Does it rank with Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which concocted a constitutional right, unmentioned in the document, to own slaves and held that black people have no rights that white people are bound to respect? With Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which affirmed the constitutionality of legally enforced racial segregation? With Korematsu v. United States (1944), which affirmed the wartime right to sweep American citizens of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps?

Did McCain's extravagant condemnation of the court's habeas ruling result from his reading the 126 pages of opinions and dissents? More likely, some clever ignoramus convinced him that this decision could make the Supreme Court — meaning, which candidate would select the best judicial nominees — a campaign issue.

The decision, however, was 5 to 4. The nine justices are of varying quality, but there are not five fools or knaves. The question of the detainees' — and the government's — rights is a matter about which intelligent people of good will can differ.

Hard to believe because he normally treats people who disagree with his faux constitutional originalism as clueless college socialists bent on remaking American society through the courts.  

Here at least the ignoramus is "clever."  But besides, even though he falls on (what I would consider) the right side of the issue of habeas corpus (i.e., habeas corpus good! not habeas corpus bad!), his technique for making his point, save a few conciliatory words, remains essentially the same: opponent is fool with no knowledge or good sense.  Since the arguments against the High Court's ruling have little to do, obviously, with any legal knowledge about the court, the notion of habeas corpus, or the Constitution, this time Will is right.   

We will be interested to see if in the future "intelligent people of good will can differ." 

3 thoughts on “Clever ignoramus”

  1. As a longtime ‘Will watcher’, I wondered if anyone (and of course you have) would ‘out’ this special dance talent of his.

  2. I wonder if this is really a topic about which “intelligent people of good will can differ”? Article I, Section 9, paragraph 2 allows of only two exceptions: rebellion or invasion. And while Article I is explicitly about the powers delegated to, and divided amongst, the houses of Congress, it is only Congress that can make law; the Executive can only enforce it. Also, Ammendment X clearly sets out that the Federal Government has no other powers than those explicitly granted to it.

    Not that anyone actually reads the Constitution any more …

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