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Republicans on Habeus Corpus

Via Andrew Sullivan comes this blog entry from Ramesh Ponnuru:

Crane says he was disappointed with Romney's answer to his question the other night. Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind. Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.
This is staggering. Two Presidential candidates were asked a direct question about a fundamental right guaranteed to us by the Constitution -- the right to seek relief from unlawful imprisonment -- and gave negative or waffling answers. We don't have transcripts of the original conversations, but if this entry is accurate, they might have gone something like these imagined exchanges:
Crane: Mayor Giuliani, do you believe the President should have the authority to arrest US citizens with no review?

Giuliani: Yes, but I would only use this authority infrequently.

...and...

Crane: Governor Romney, do you believe the President should have the authority to arrest US citizens with no review?

Romney: I would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before making up my mind about this.

What? You would use this authority only "infrequently"? Is that supposed to make me feel better? You want to hear "the pros and cons"? What pros and cons? This is habeus corpus! It can only be suspended in case of rebellion or invasion.

As Sullivan said in commenting on this:

I never thought I'd read a post like this in America in my lifetime. Isn't this power of a sovereign to detain any citizen without charge at any time part of the reason this country was founded? And now it is simply assumed that this kind of monarchical power is fine. A country that grants its executive the power to do this is definitionally not a free country. It really is as simple as that.
I guess at this point, we're just waiting for Alberto Gonzales to call habeus corpus "quaint" and be done with it.

By the way, I have no idea what Ponnuru's stance on this is. By "Crane", I presume he means Edward Crane of the Cato Institute, and anyone from the Cato Institute would be a strong defender of habeus corpus rights. On the other hand, Ponnuru has called Democrats "The Party of Death", so who knows?

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