December 19, 2003
It's been a great week for Americans, and, no, this has nothing to do with Saddam

court_gavel2.gifThis week, fans of rational and democratically-protected civil liberties had many reasons to rejoice (or at least, wait with bated breath until the inevitable appeals process begins) as federal courts issued three striking rejoinders to Big, Bad, and Powerful Interests–notably, King George and the RIAA.

Seriously, try smiling, just this once. Because, realistically, we all know it will be frown season again when November 2004 rolls around.

1. Court: Gitmo suspects need lawyers

In another legal setback for the Bush administration, a federal appeals court has concluded terrorist suspects held in secret U.S. custody on foreign soil deserve access to lawyers and the American legal system.

...The 9th Circuit [ruled that] "even in times of national emergency -- indeed, particularly in such times -- it is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike. ... We hold that no lawful policy or precedent supports such a counter-intuitive and undemocratic procedure."

2. Court Rules Bush Cannot Hold Padilla As "Enemy Combatant"

In New York, a divided court ruled that President Bush lacked the authority to indefinitely detain Jose Padilla - a U.S. citizen - simply by declaring him "an enemy combatant."

The majority of the three-judge panel ruled that while Congress might have the power to authorize the detention of an American, the president, acting on his own, did not. Padilla has been held in solitary confinement for 18 months without access to a lawyer or the courts. No charges have been filed against Padilla who is a US citizen born in Brooklyn.

3. Record Industry May Not Subpoena Online Providers

The recording industry cannot compel an Internet service provider to give up the names of customers who trade music online without judicial review, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled today.

The sharply worded ruling, which dismissed one industry argument by saying that it "borders on the silly," is a blow to the music companies in the online music wars. It overturns a decision in federal district court that favored the industry and ordered Verizon Communications to disclose the identity of a subscriber based on simple subpoenas submitted to a court clerk.

Posted in a Grave fashion.

Other Recent Items of Interest:

Make our "team" part of your "team"
jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
Guy Cimbalo is so cute! Yes, he is. Who's a cute little Guy? You are, you are! Guy's our very own star of stage and screen and is repped by Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm. Rowr!
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