The Accountability Of The American Government In The Case Of Mr.Padilla

1294 words - 6 pages

The Government of the United States, going against Mr.Padilla’s Constitutional rights and not providing him an opportunity to contest the legality of his detention, comprises the value of the Government’s accountability as a law-abiding state. In this particular case, it appears that government officers, including the president, believe that they should be able to do what is against pre-existing laws, if it is necessary to the preservation of the state and its citizens. However, this view raises some serious problems. If committed to a principle Rule of Law, one should never expect the government to act in an illegal way. The Rule of Law refers to “an end state in which all individuals and institutions, public and private, and the state itself are held accountable to the law, which is supreme” (Rule, n.d.). Therefore, the Rule of Law states, that every citizen is subject to the law, including the lawmakers themselves. All government officers of the States, including the president, the Justice of the Supreme Court, and all members of Congress, pledge to uphold the Constitution; affirming that the Rule of Law is superior to the rule of any human leader (Vile, 2006).
Avoiding the conflict between security and civil liberties, by identifying Mr. Padilla as an enemy combatant, comprises the value of the government’s accountability as a law-abiding state. Legal systems operating under the Rule of Law should never have an “off-thebooks” approach to necessity; even the defense of necessity must be justified lawfully (Timmons, ). As stated in the case study, the president labeled Mr.Padilla as “an enemy combatant who poses a serious and continuing threat to the American people and our national security.” However, the president’s attempt to detain Mr.Padilla as an enemy combatant on the grounds of necessity was not justified lawfully. In 2003, a federal appeals court ruled that the government release Mr.Padilla from custody as “the president does not have the Constitutional authority as Commander in Chief to detain as enemy combatants American citizens seized on American soil, away from the zone of combat” (Case Study). In a second attempt to detain Mr.Padilla, the government changed their statement saying “Mr. Padilla was associated with senior al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden and that he had received training from al Qaeda operatives on wiring explosive devices” (Case Study). Correspondingly, Mr. Padilla appealed his case and the court declined to take the case for the second time, labeling it as moot. “Our system of checks and balances requires that all presidential actions, like all legislative or military actions, be consistent with governing laws” (Timmons, ). The Courts decisions to not take the first two cases and to release Mr.Padilla, shows that the president’s actions were done in opposition of the pre-existing Constitution and consequently comprises the government’s accountability.
The government’s attempt to transfer Mr. Padilla...

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