Marble chunk falls from Supreme Court facade: WASHINGTON (AP) — A basketball-sized piece of marble molding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court Monday, landing on the steps near visitors waiting to enter the building. …
The marble was part of the dentil molding that serves as a frame for sculptural figures. The piece that fell was over the figures, near the peak of the building, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap.
This isn’t such great symbolism either:
The fallen marble lay directly in the center of the path up to the court entrance.
The 70-year-old Supreme Court building is undergoing a $122 million, five-year renovation project, although it is unclear whether the accident was related to that work. The project includes an underground two-story police station.
It’s a bittersweet moment for the rule of law. On the one hand, getting Padilla out of the ranks of the disappeared and into the ordinary criminal justice system is a good thing, and it’s mildly cheering that even this administration fears even this Supreme Court enough to want to prevent it from ruling on the asserted power to grab any citizen, anywhere, and hold him or her without regard to the Bill of Rights for as long as the President is minded to order.
On the other hand, this decision to charge comes rather late, at the eleventh hour, and risks leaving in place a circuit court decision with draconian implications for Presidential power. The precedent set by this case — including that of justice delayed to the point of denial — cannot, should not, must not be allowed to stand. So long as our government claims the power to lock any one of us up in solitary, indefinitely, without trial, on the unsupported say-so of any official no matter how highly placed, we can give ourselves no airs before the other authoritarian regimes of the Americas.