Sen. Carl LevinA Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held on June 17 made public several documents from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including a chart that outlined the use of “coercive management techniques” by military interrogators. Subsequent information revealed by the New York Times on July 2, after the newspaper had been tipped off by “an independent expert on interrogation who spoke on condition of anonymity,” indicated that the chart used at Guantanamo had been copied from a 1957 article, “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War.” The article had been written by Alfred D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the Air Force. Authorities at Guantanamo dropped the chart’s original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.”

Dept. of Homeland Security In the face of a widespread rebellion among the states against the unfunded Real ID mandate, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 20 demonstration grant awards totaling nearly $80 million to assist states in implementing Real ID for their driver’s licenses.

Randy BrogdonOn March 13 the Oklahoma House passed House Joint Resolution 1089, sponsored by Rep. Charles Key and Sen. Randy Brogdon, “claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers,” by an overwhelming vote of 92 to 3. Opponents of the measure in the Senate managed to keep it from being debated and voted on before this year’s legislative session ended.

Supreme Court of the United StatesOn June 26, by handing down a 5-4 decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which had struck down provisions of the District’s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional. The act restricted residents from owning handguns — except for those “grandfathered” in by registration prior to 1975 or held by active or retired law-enforcement officers. Additionally, the law required that even rifles and shotguns be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.”

President BushIn a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 12, struck down major portions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), which created military tribunals to hear the cases of suspected terrorists detained by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Bush and his supporters vigorously disagree with the decision, which they have characterized as usurpation of the constitutional powers of the executive and legislative branches by the judicial branch. Although the federal courts are guilty of much unconstitutional meddling, this decision is an important exception, in which the Supreme Court upheld one of the most vital checks against tyranny: the writ of habeas corpus.

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