Gonzo Con Law


A reader at Daily Kos transcribed this exchange from today's Senate Judiciary Hearings:

Sen. Arlen Specter: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away except in the case of invasion or rebellion. Doesn't that mean you have the right of habeas corpus?

AG Gonzales: I meant by that comment that the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

I'd call such parsing "Clintonian," except that to do so would undermine the seriousness of it all. When Clinton fiddled with the meaning of "is," he was hedging about a blowjob. Gonzalez is getting cutesy with 300 years of human rights jurisprudence, and the very foundation of modern criminal law.