Somewhere, Lou Dobbs Is Smiling

CNN Television news anchor Lou Dobbs attends a special screening of "All The King's Men" presented by The Cinema Society at the Regal Cinema Battery Park September 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) Getty Images/Evan Agostini

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CNN anchor Lou Dobbs might be prepared to declare victory after reading the front page of the New York Times, which offers up news that "all along the border" of the U.S. and Mexico, new measures like barriers and additional National Guardsmen "are beginning to slow the flow of illegal immigrants."

This conclusion is reached based on the number of illegal immigrants caught – a number that has dropped by 27 percent in the last four months compared with last year.

Border Patrol agents told the Times they are picking up 100 people a day, versus 500 a day a year ago. Their explanation for the drop is simply that it's the result of stiffer enforcement. "It's the right mix, the right recipe," said one Border Patrol agent.

High Court Showdown Over Gitmo?

Following yesterday's federal appeals court decision that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, do not have the right to challenge their detention in federal courts has set the stage for an "historic showdown" in the Supreme Court, as the Los Angeles Times puts it. (Although it will likely not make it to the docket this term.)

Three front pages and the Wall Street Journal's newsbox pick up on the news, all highlighting that the decision is a victory for the Bush administration. The 2 to 1 decision upheld a law enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress last year, which "stripped Guantanamo detainees of their right to such habeas corpus petitions," writes the Washington Post.

The New York Times looks at the details of the law, which "explicitly eliminated the federal courts' jurisdiction over habeas challenges" by foreign "enemy combatants" being held outside the U.S. The law instead "set up military panels to review the justification of detention in individual cases, with limited right of appeal to the courts afterward."

In yesterday's decision, judges wrote that under the Constitution, the right of habeas corpus did not apply to noncitizens held outside the United States. "Cuba — not the United States — has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay," Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote.

A Victory For Philip Morris

Elsewhere in the courts, the Supreme Court overturned a decision that would have demanded $80 million in damages from Philip Morris for "endangering the lives of smokers," writes the Washington Post.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the constitution "forbids a state to use punitive damages to punish a company for injury it inflicts upon others who are 'essentially, strangers to the litigation,'" according to the majority opinion, written by Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

It was, obviously, a victory for Philip Morris and also to any other businesses that may face punitive damage lawsuits, since it reinforces other of the court's recent rulings that such damage awards "must be proportionate to the wrong committed."

British Retreat

British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced this morning that he would begin a phased pullout of British troops from Iraq and Wall Street Journal of the fateful day when he met his first vicuna: "It was like a dog. It looked into my eyes and seemed like it really wanted to talk to me."

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