Liberty's Court of Last Resort

Nobody Knows Hamdi's Own Story

In its report "A Year of Loss: Reexamining Civil Liberties Since September 11," released in September 2002, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights declared that in addition to many lives and our sense of invulnerability, "the United States has lost something essential and defining: some of the cherished principles on which the country is founded have been eroded or disregarded."

The Supreme Court is our court of last resort, as well as Hamdi's. While the Fourth Circuit did not say that what happened to Hamdi could be inflicted on an American citizen captured on American soil, constitutional law professor David Cole notes, "There would be some in the government who would claim that in this conflict the combat zone is the world."

Next week: torture, American-style.

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