War and the Bench

Listen / Download

If you think the Bill of Rights affords all U.S. citizens a guarantee of Constitutional protection, think again. Jose Padilla, is a U.S. citizen labeled as an “enemy combatant” by the Bush Administration, and he is finding out just how far the justice system can bend in times of crisis.

Since he was seized ten months ago, Padilla has been sitting in a Navy brig, he has not been charged and he has been denied counsel. Those expecting the judiciary to come to the rescue might take a cue from history.

Courts have been reluctant to stand up to the executive branch in times of national crisis. The Bush Administration contends that protecting Americans from terrorism means putting some rights on hold. And so far, some courts are agreeing.


Anthony Lewis, former New York Times Columnist covering the Supreme Court

Phillip Bobbitt, University of Texas Law School Professor and Chair