Friday, August 15, 2008

Habeas Pocus

'Twas he had summon'd to her silent Bed
The Morning Dream that hover'd o'er her Head.
Dante, Paridiso, Canto 1

I saw Habeas Pocus as a headline on Countdown the other night. It got me thinking, and here’s what I dreamed I read in the year 2020. (Disclaimer: this post is not about my garden.)

Habeas Pocus
is the legal principal whereby smoke is produced in lieu of direct proof of a defendant’s case. This legal theory was established by the U. S. Supreme Court in People v Mukasey, 2009. At issue in the case was whether blatant high crimes and treason by members of the Executive Branch would be pursued by the Attorney General (Hint: the AG is also a member of the EB). Asserting the Government’s right to protection against self-incrimination, then-Attorney General Mukasey refused to prosecute criminal action by the White House – from the President down to the guy with the floor buffer in the Oval Office when the call came at 3:00 AM. The People, in an unusual class action, sued him. The Supreme Court decided the case in 2009.

Pursuant to People v Mukasey, Habeas Pocus is the right to conclusively prove innocence by submitting spurious lies and smoke. The majority opinion, by Justice Roberts, also denied opposing council the right to submit known and objectively-verifiable evidence as proof of guilt. The majority opinion ended with the now-infamous: “Problem solved!” The equally famous dissent, by Justice Ginsburg consisted of a single acronym: “WTF?”

It remains to be seen how this legal theory will stand the test of time, although certain legal experts think it won’t. American voters, after forgiving the Supremes for electing the Criminal in Chief in the first place, were not so much consternated after hearing the verdict, as they were seriously pissed. History will remember this moment with garden blogger Weeping Sore’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo of the President, Vice President, and Chief Justice, hanging upside down in the foreground, with the Supreme Court in the background.

The picture also includes the spontaneous pyre beneath them. Instead of creating a shrine of plush toys and wilting flowers, melting in candle wax at the site of the Upside-down Trio, Americans created a bonfire of SUVs and burned the logos of Big Oil, Big Pharma and other assorted war criminals. The fire charred the torn robes of the hanging bodies, making the picture look almost black and white, reminiscent of Mussolini hanging out with his gal back in the bad old days.

While times were uncertain for a while after this decision, it turns out most people were better off with this precedent in the long run. The legal theory of Habeas Pocus was seen by many pundits afterwords, as the last straw that broke the back of the capitalist pigs. While initially permitting war criminals to go unpunished by the justice system, this decision was later seen as the first step in making the world safe from corporate greed, self-interest and corrupt politicians.

In my dream, I read this in Wikipedia, so I’m not sure how accurate it will be.

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