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More on SCOTUS ruling

As you have probably heard by now, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the military commissions instituted by the Bush administration to try the terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay were unconstitutional. This is seen by many as a rebuke of the theory of an all powerful unitary executive. And I suspect that the ruling has probably caused quite a few die hard fans of this theory of an unfettered Presidency to suffer from sudden cranial expansion.

But will it really have an effect on the Bush presidency? Sure it now forces Bush to take the democratic route of involving the Congress but that just raises a more troubling question: is that really such a good idea? I know there are some political analysts out there who think that this will be a challenge for Bush. Yes, there have been some rumblings of defiance amongst members of his own party but when it comes time to put up or shut up they always fall back in with the party line (see Specter, Arlen). And if any members, especially Democrats, balk at some of Bush's demands, they can be cowed with the threat of being labeled pro-terrorist. Already the GOP's thinking is that they need only put their stamp of approval on Bush's extrajudicial system in order to render the Court's decision moot (though how likely that is remains in doubt).

Others have speculated that parts of this ruling have far reaching implications. For starters, it undermines the administration's argument for warrantless wiretapping (see here and here). There is also talk the decision may expose administration officials to possible war crimes charges, though others doubt that as an eventuality.

Regardless, it is heartening to see someone finally stand up to Bush. But the predictability of this President makes me wonder how much impact, if any, it will have. Only time will tell if this victory for the rule of law will turn out to be a hollow one. For the sake of our nation, let us hope it isn't.

More reactions from A. Alexander, Bring It On!, Wonkette, Martini Republic, Brilliant at Breakfast, Eugene Robinson, The Ostroy Report, Robert Parry, and Chris Floyd.

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