The war drum against Iran beats louder, thanks in part to a ruling from U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels on December 15, 2011 ruling that Iran was linked to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Eurasia Review reports, “Judge Daniels had announced his ruling in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., in open court on Thursday, December 15, 2011, following a three-hour courtroom presentation by the families’ attorneys. Then Judge Daniels entered a written Order of Judgment backed by 53 pages of detailed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Friday, December 23, 2011.”
I must ask:
- Will this court ruling be used as justification to invade Iran as part of the Global War on Terror?
- Just because a Judge said that Iran was behind 9/11; does that make it true?
A glance at past court rulings will show that judges are not always right.
In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Louisiana law requiring separate accommodations for “white” and “non-white” passengers on trains was not unconstitutional. The Plessy decision set the precedent of “separate but equal” which allowed Jim Crow laws to stay in place for another 58 years. We can now look back at Plessy and realize that it was a bad decision, and that Justice Harlan was correct when he wrote in his dissent “In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case… I am of opinion that the state of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens… and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be enacted in the several states of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous.”
In the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “a free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.” The Court additionally ruled, “a slave does not become entitled to his freedom where the owner takes him to reside in a State where slavery is not permitted and afterwards brings him back to [a State where it is permitted].”
Ironically, the first person in what became the United States of America to convince a court that he had the right to his servant for life, instead of a term of years was Anthony Johnson, a free black man in Jamestown, Virginia. The Northampton County Court ruled that John Casor was not a free man after serving his term of years and that Anthony Johnson had the right to the service of John Casor for life.
In yet another bad court decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, under direction from the President or Congress, American citizens can be detained during a time of war, specifically those citizens of the same ethnicity as “the enemy.” The Court ruled, “because Congress, reposing its confidence in this time of war in our military leaders… determined that they should have the power to do just this.”
Allow me to ask again: just because a judge says something, does that make it true?