Presented without further comment:
Minutes before a major terrorism trial was about to begin, a federal judge barred prosecutors in Manhattan on Wednesday from using a key witness.The government had acknowledged it learned about the witness from the defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, while he was being interrogated while being held in a secret overseas jail run by the C.I.A.
The ruling by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan would seem to be a setback for the Obama administration’s goal of trying former detainees in civilian courts because it would limit the kinds of evidence that prosecutors can introduce.
Okay, I can’t resist. Setting to one side the right’s newfound ability to get past President Bush’s legacy by pretending that all of his errors ceased having any effect whatsoever once President Obama took office, in many ways, we still do pay for the former President’s mistakes. This is but the most salient (and irrefutable) example: some mistakes, you can’t take back. The rule of law, once injured, is difficult to ever fully repair. Before the country flirts with the idea of handing power back to a party that views real constitutional limits, like due process and trial-by-jury, as inconveniences, we should consider what that might mean, for the years to come and for our national integrity.