Ackerman supports this idea because of the following reasons: 1) Government made a mistake by choosing to declar a “war on terror”, because this has driven government itself to react with panic to any potencial threat, thus compromising society’s civil liberties. 2) Terror is a technical matter. War is not a technical matter but a human one as it involves life and death. It is wrong to wage war on terror because it is a technique. It has no definitive form, and this is dangerous because it makes it possible for the President to wage without defining against who or what. 3) It is wrong to use the term “war” because this automatically confronts the country with another armed world power. The free markets (capitalism) have contributed to making weapons of mass destruction available to anyone with the means to procure them. Terrorism has no definitive form. 4) The courts have proven that they are inefficient in protecting the people’s civil rights. Historically, when “wars” (as the “war on terror” being fough today) have been fought, courts have sided with government in detriment of the people’s rights and freedoms.
Gudrige disagrees with this idea because of the following reasons. 1) Involving the legislative branch in order to censure government’s actions during the time of “emergency” would create confusion as well as controversy throughout the entire chain of command (especially in the military armed forces). 2) Ackerman’s proposal is only viable if any “emergency” is isolated and if its duration is short. However, if the world happens to find itself truly in an “age of terrorism”, such a scheme would not work in favor of the society, but against it. 3) While Ackerman complains about the courts siding with the government, his alternative does nothingmore than creates an additional framework that also falls under the judicial branch’s competency. 4) The country’s “constitutional culture” gives the courts the insight they need to understand what a specific situation (such as the “war on terror”) demands and what needs to be done to protect society’s civil rights.
I agree with Gudridge because there is no way that any legal document or framewok can predict exactly how long an “emergency” will last, how frequently it will manifest itself, and what its nature is. An emergency might spring due to an isolated terrorist attack, but it might also be that the world is witnessing the dawning of a new “age of terrorism”. Due to this, it is unviable to suggest that by making an “emergency” constitution, everything will be made alright in the society as a whole.
I also believe that creating an “emergency” constitution changes nothing, because it would still fall under the courts’ competency (as it would be a law, and all laws are enforced by the judicial branch of government). Therefore, arguing that an alternative to the traditional court system is required is an empty arguing since Ackerman fails to present an alternative to the system which he criticizes. I am a person who believes that the interests of the nation as well as the interests of the society as a whole (the majority) are above the interests of an individual (or a minority group of individuals). Based on this belief, I am against the creation of an “emergency” constitution that censures the executive branch’s ability to act, involves the legislative branch in executive affairs, and criticizes the judicial branch. It is true that mistakes have been made in the past, but with the passing of the years, the system has managed to perfect itself, to learn from past mistakes so as not to commit them again in the future. Due to this, I do believe (like Gudrige does, that the country does have a “constitutional culture” and that this is all that the society needs to be reassured that no matter what emergency comes up, the government’s current system of checks and balances will work and everyone’s civil rights and liberties will be zealously protected.
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