[Arlen Specter] destroyed the foundation of Anglo-American jurisprudence. — Paul Soglin, Waxing AmericaThat would be one Hell of an accomplishment indeed.
Mayor Soglin is apparently referring to Arlen Specter's vote in favor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which contained a provision (MCA §7) enabling the federal government to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for certain detainees captured in the "war on terror."
According to Arlen Specter's commentary at the time, he voted for the MCA as a matter of political expediency, even though he was strongly opposed to the provision in question.
Moreover, Sen. Specter believed the provision was constitutionally infirm, in that present circumstances did not adequately conform with U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 2, and predicted that it would be declared so by the federal courts on those grounds and on those that the MCA impermissibly stripped the courts of jurisdiction.
He was correct on both counts, and it was so decided.
As a matter of fact, Specter filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case, Boumediene v. Bush.
Specter's brief concludes:
To avoid an incongruous legal "black hole" at Guantanamo, this Court should strike down the MCA’s illegal suspension of the Great Writ [of habeas corpus] and allow Congress to establish procedures consistent with what national security and the Constitution require.Which is what the Boumediene Court did, in spite of the risibly strenuous objections of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.*
Read Specter's foundation-destroying arguments here (.pdf; 36 pgs.).
* "The game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays ... will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."