Hard cases make bad law. In this case I think it might be the other way around.
Abu Qatada, described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, won his fight against deportation yesterday as the Court of Appeal delivered two blows to attempts to remove suspected terrorists from the country. Three judges blocked the deportation of Abu Qatada despite a “no torture” guarantee given to the British Government by Jordan.
The man (and the others affected by the ruling) seem like scum buckets to me, to be sure. But they are indeed human beings and as such have natural rights. Fair trials, no torture and the like. And as we are (for the moment at least) a country under the rule of law, a law which acknowledges those natural rights, then they cannot be sent to a place where those rights are abridged.
The hard part is that such seeming scumbuckets get our protections: the good part that such protections are indeed enforced by the law.
As Larry Flynt memorably pointed out, if the law protects shits* like me then you can be sure it will protect you too. That\’s the whole point of it.
* (I paraphrase from memory, you understand.)