Conservative, Libertarian Differ on Obama's Take of Gitmo Ruling

By Penny Starr | July 7, 2008 | 8:33 PM EDT

( - Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) support for the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday giving terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay access to the federal courts attracted differing responses from a libertarian and a conservative on Friday.

"Sen. Obama's statement is pure political posturing in order to bash the Bush administration," Herman Cain, a former Republican senate candidate and former president of Godfathers Pizza, told Cybercast News Service. "His campaign strategy is trying to promote (John) McCain (R-Ariz.) as a third Bush term."

In a statement issued by the Obama campaign following the ruling, Obama said the court's decision "is a rejection of the Bush administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo -- yet another failed policy supported by John McCain."

McCain voted for the Military Commissions Act, which provided for trial of the Guantanamo Bay detainees by military commission and which the court ruled unconstitutional because it denied imprisoned suspected terrorists the right to challenge their detention in federal court.

But both McCain and Obama have vowed to close the prison if elected the next president.

Obama also said the ruling helped America's tarnished reputation around the world.

"This is the first step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.

"Bringing these detainees to justice is too important for us to rely on a flawed system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and compromised our core values," Obama said.

Tim Lynch, director of the Project on Criminal Justice at the Libertarian Cato Institute, told Cybercast News Service that Obama is trying to contrast the differences between himself and his presumptive GOP rival.

"Obama's critical comments were directed at the misguided policies that both Bush and McCain supported," Lynch said. "Obama seems to appreciate that the military personnel at Guantanamo were only trying to follow administration policy. Should Obama win the election and reverse or alter existing policies relating to prisoners, I expect the military would respond professionally and follow the new president's directives without rancor."

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