I am in my London office, which is nice. And the weather is better here, which is also nice.
I had to get up at 5 to be here, and the office for which I personally pay City of London style rent (literally, in the last round of rent-reviews we lost the battle over what the comparables should be) is full of other people's junk. Which is less nice. Heigh ho.
Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts on yesterday's post and by email etc.
Because I can't be bothered to do a separate post, Hilzoy on Obsidian Wings on the Maher Arrar decision:
Apparently, one of the counts could have proceeded had the Court not found that the national security questions it raises require that it be deferred to Congress or the executive. The courts, according to the decision, lack the foreign policy expertise to decide such questions, and therefore they should be left to the "political branches" of the government.
I think this is just wrong. Article VI of the Constitution states that "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby". We have entered into the Convention Against Torture. Article III of that Convention states that "No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture." There are very substantial grounds for believing that someone rendered to Syria, as Arar was, would be tortured, even leaving aside the possibility that we asked the Syrians to torture him. We have therefore violated one of those treaties which are, according to the Constitution, the law of the land.
This means that the extradition of Maher Arar is a violation of the law. It may also have foreign policy implications, but it does not thereby cease to be a violation of the law. And while conducting foreign policy may not fall within normal judicial expertise, reading laws, and determining whether the facts in evidence warrant conviction under them, is exactly what judges do. If determining when conduct violates a law and when it does not does not fall within their purview, I have no idea why on earth we bother to have them.