Friday, July 07, 2006

In which I copy-edit Charles Krauthammer

I don't read Krauthammer. It isn't worth it. If I wanted to read about pop-psych diagnoses of his liberal enemies, I'd subscribe to TimesSelect and get David Brooks and John Tierney, who will gladly work hand-in-hand to show how everything liberals do is petty and elitist, while conservatives are all well-balanced and perfect. And they'd throw in Maureen Dowd to explain how everything would be better if people would stop wearing brown suits.

So it was with trepidation that I clicked the link, but I had to know what this title applied to: Emergency Over, Saith the Court. It turns out, he's talking about Hamdan. And he has an odd view of history:
Our big wars … have a way of starting in the first year of a decade. Supreme Courts, which historically have been loath to intervene against presidential war powers in the midst of conflict, have tended to give the president until mid-decade to do what he wishes to the Constitution in order to win the war.
Not among the big wars: World War 1. Also the Revolution. Or Vietnam. Fine, whatever. And his examples of cases where courts let the president "do what he wishes to the Constitution" are also strained, as is the amount of time he thinks the Court lets things slide. It takes time for a case to hit the Supreme Court: figure at least a couple years. Add on a few years to start rending the Constitution, and you have a non-deferential explanation for a 5 year gap between war starting and the Court ruling on excesses.

Let's get along to the copy-editing. Referring to the ruling in Hamdan, he says:

All rise: The Supreme Court has decreed a return to normality.
There is a clear typo in the last word, and I wish the Post's proofreaders had spotted it. The proper spelling is "the rule of law." Hope that helps.