the Court reaffirmed its decision from last year that detainees are not “persons” for the purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was enacted in 1993 to protect against government actions that unreasonably interfere with religious practices. Last year, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a member of the Court of Appeals panel who issued the decision today, referred to the Court’s holding that detainees are not “persons” as “a most regrettable holding in a case where plaintiffs have alleged high-level U.S. government officials treated them as less than human.” This statement is noticeably absent from Judge Brown’s substantively identical concurring opinion issued today.-- Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release in the same link as above.
Not persons? What are they then, dogs? No, they can't be dogs, because we'd never allow dogs to be tortured like this. Just go ask Michael Vick about how we react when we find dogs are being tortured and abused. Well, some dogs. As long as the dog is being tortured for corporate profit, we don't seem to mind. Then we call any who object 'terrorists' and put them on the FBI most wanted list.
Note also, that Obama's DOJ was in this court arguing for just such a ruling.
This is the first step towards torture. The first step towards torture is to deny the humanity of the victim. To torture someone, we have to make up dismissive names. We have to call them 'ragheads' or 'sand-niggers' or 'gooks'. To torture someone, we have to first convince ourselves that they are not human. If a torturer was thinking of their victim as the son of a mother who is grieving her missing boy, or as the missing father to children who want their daddy home, then its much harder to throw the switch that sends the electricity to the electrodes and makes the victim scream. The first thing that most people have to do in order to torture is to convince themselves that the victim is not human. That's not a father in front of you, that's a 'terrorist'.
If Obama really wants to end torture, then one thing that must occur is that we must acknowledge our victims as fellow 'persons'. Instead, Obama's administration is working hard to deny the basic religious rights that we'd recognize in any person.
To me, the following is the fundamental statement of what it is to be an American. The following is the idea upon which America was founded. We've come a very long way, and in the wrong direction, if we now construct legal arguments in order to declare that some people are 'not persons' and thus have no rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security