Even if nothing puts a spring in your step more than “a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration” (as the network news called the recent Al-Marri ruling), the decision should make you worry about your personal safety. The Wall Street Journal notes:

“There’s no doubt that the 2-1 Fourth Circuit ruling in Al-Marri v. Wright is remarkable and dangerous in its sweeping judicial claims. Judges Diane Motz and Roger Gregory, both Bill Clinton nominees, ruled that a person like al-Marri does not qualify as an enemy combatant, because the U.S. cannot be ‘at war’ with a private group like al Qaeda.”

If upheld, the ruling will be something of a terrorist protection act:

“[F]or new homegrown terrorist recruits, the Fourth Circuit decision is great news: If you join al Qaeda today, and get your training outside a wartime-environment, any violent acts you commit against the U.S. cannot qualify you as an enemy combatant or subject you to the system of military interrogation. You will instead be prosecuted in the U.S. criminal justice system, which would make any al Qaeda operative’s day.

“A case against a terrorist suspect would require a level of transparency that could compromise intelligence gathering and possibly the nation’s security. Through the discovery process, the terrorist “defendant” would be privy to the sources that compromised him–sources that would thereby be made obsolete. And don’t forget the domestic criminal rules of evidence. You think a lot of cases are dismissed on ‘technicalities’ now?”