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Judge rules political leaders are above some laws

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A federal judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit brought by a man convicted of plotting terrorism and who alleged he was tortured at a Navy brig in South Carolina, saying a trial would create "an international spectacle."

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Jose Padilla, arrested as an enemy combatant, had no right to sue for constitutional violations and that the defendants in the case enjoyed qualified immunity.

So this guy, an American citizen arrested in Chicago, can't even have his case heard. He might have been tortured, which is illegal despite this country's discussion on the issue. But he can't even be allowed to prove his case. Here is part of the judge's reason:

"A trial on the merits would be an international spectacle with Padilla, a convicted terrorist, summoning America's present and former leaders to a federal courthouse to answer his charges," he wrote.

That's disturbing to say the least. As Glenn Greenwald points out, other countries have allowed alleged torture victims to have a trial and have even compensated them for their part in the torture and improper imprisonment. But here in the US, we lock you up, torture you, and don't allow you to prove that the gov't broke the law in its treatment of you.

We may not be losing the war on terror in a strict sense of the world. But I'm certain we aren't winning it. Not when our courts allow politicians to break the law and then deny citizens the right to even try and prove they did so.