Monday, January 16, 2006

The Ex Post Facto Constitution

The Bush administration's latest lollapalooza is still flying under the radar.

Last week, it asked the Supreme Court to make Lindsey Graham's bill that suspends Guantanamo detainees' right to habeas corpus appeals retroactive. This would effectively dismiss more than 180 pending petitions.

It would also turn the habeas bill into something the United States Constitution expressly forbids: an ex post facto law. defines "ex post facto" as "Formulated, enacted, or operating retroactively. Used especially of a law."

So how Alberto Gonzales will argue that a retroactive habeas bill would not be an ex post facto law is something of a mystery. Maybe he'll say that this ex post facto law isn't the kind of ex post facto law the Constitution talks about because the Constitution was written before 9/11/2001, and 9/11 changed everything.

Or some incredible Orwellian rot like that.


I don't know why Gonzales wastes his time with these nickel and dime assaults on the Constitution. He should just sit down and write a new one that says exactly what his boss wants it to say. It would read something like this…

Legislative power will move to the executive branch, but there will still be a Congress. That way, the people can still vote for their own congressional representatives, and even though their representatives can't vote on anything themselves, the people will still be represented because they got to elect their representatives. Plus, whenever anything goes wrong, everybody can blame it on Congress.

Gonzales will write all the laws, but the Mr. Bush must approve them. And Gonzales will not write any laws that Mr. Bush hasn't already approved, so there will still be checks and balances.

The new Constitution will drastically streamline the Executive and Judicial branches. The courts will come under direct control of the Gonzales Justice Department, and Homeland Security will fold into the Department of Defense. All other cabinet functions will be outsourced to subsidiaries of Halliburton.

There will be no enumerated presidential war powers because that might imply that there are limits to Mr. Bush's war powers, which there won't be. Mr. Bush will have sole authority to declare peace. But don't worry; he'll never do that.

The Bill of Rights will be replaced by the Bill of Goods. Americans citizens will still have rights, but if they abuse those rights by exercising them, they'll be declared enemy combatants and rendered to a third world country where they don't have any rights to abuse.

The new Constitution will be ratified two thirds of Mr. Bush's immediate family.

The most important aspect of the new Constitution is that it will be retroactive, going into effect the day before the old Constitution went into effect. Anything in the old Constitution that prohibits anything in the new Constitution won't matter because the old Constitution will be null and void before it ever existed.

And it won't matter that the new Constitution is ex post facto law because ex post facto laws are allowed in the new Constitution. In fact, they're required.


  1. Hee hee. Good thing it's only fiction, right?