Monday, May 10, 2010

Lets Just Shred The Constitution While We're At It, Shall We?

Because that seems to be what our esteemed attorney general, Eric Holder, wants to do.

Now, I know some of you out there may ask you pay attention to things like the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions. And, you may also know that nowhere in the Constitution does it expressly mandate that when a person is taken into custody by police officers or any other law enforcement personnel, or for that matter any agent of the government wants to put someone under arrest, that they must be read certain rights that everybody knows if they've watched more than one episode of Law and Order.

In case you didn't know, the warnings that a person is given when they are in the custodial interrogation are known as Miranda rights. the reason they're known as Miranda right is because they come from a case decided by the US Supreme Court called Miranda v. Arizona. Essentially what the court found in the Miranda case is that while the Constitution didn't specifically mandate that you be read your rights, that the Constitution required the rule to be made so that the rights enshrined in the Constitution were respected by the police. he also had the nice side effect of ending the argument, to an extent, of whether a person need to be coerced or on coerced confession and whether the confession was made with their rights being knowingly waived.

Strict textual interpreters of the Constitution have always hated this rule. They feel that it was the court creating new constitutional rights rather than just applying the ones that existed. Initially police departments around the country warned that it would mean the end of effective police work, that criminals would no longer confess their crimes during interrogations because they would all take advantage of their right to silence and the right to counsel once they've been reminded of this.

It's 40 years later, and the police are still locking up bad guys.

But in recent years, the Miranda warnings have come under attack. And oddly it hasn't been attacked from just one side of the aisle, it's been attacked from both Democrats and Republicans. The critics of the Miranda warnings fear that it prevents the United States from effectively compare getting terrorists. The reason for this is that the Supreme Court has ruled that once a person asks for a lawyer than the intent addition must cease until a lawyer arrives to counsel the suspect.

Part of the confusion over the use of Miranda warnings has to do with the Democratic Party's knee-jerk reaction to anything that George W. Bush might have favored. Brenda warnings are meant for people arrested in US territory. The territory of the United States is made up of the 50 United States from overseas possessions that we administer, such as the Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and various other United States installations. The Miranda warnings were never intended to be used on the battlefield. Yet somehow, we've managed to foul the whole rule up about where the U.S. Constitution applies and does not apply to the point where now we are trying to extend Miranda rights to enemy noncombatants captured in the course of military operations.

Never before in history the United States have we ever tried to apply our constitutional rights to foreigners captured on the battlefield and held as hors de combat. Yet for some reason, there elements of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that wants to do just that.

Because of this insanity, Miranda warning is coming under attack when it's used with in the United States territories when the American citizen is captured performing acts of terrorism. Sen. McCain spoke out saying that when the suspect for the New York City Times Square bombing attempt was eventually captured that they should not eat read their Miranda warnings. Attorney General Holder, an appointee by President Obama, wants to do just that the next time there is a terrorist attack in the United States.

Atty. Gen. Holder wants to ask Congress to create an exception to Miranda rule. He argues that interrogators need greater flexibility when questioning a terrorism suspect. The exception that he is proposing, he claims, will be narrowly tailored to only include people being questioned for terrorism charges. The question then becomes, who decides what constitutes terrorist act?

You'd think that would be easy wouldn't you? There's only one problem, and that is the exception that is being proposed could be used against virtually any group which opposes the party, or the man, in power. Right now it seems all very simple. Terrorists are the ones that come out of the Middle East or Central Asia, usually Pakistan, and try and bomb us because we don't agree with their brand of Islam.

However, the current administration views a number of other groups as being potential threats, and specifically potential terrorist threats, to the United States in general. back in April of last year, the Department of Homeland Security released report stating that possible domestic terrorism groups included "groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,...".

Remember, a terrorist doesn't necessarily need to be the bomb planter or the one shooting up a hotel full of tourists. It can also be someone who donates money to a group recognized as a terrorist group. So someone brought up on terrorism charges could be a person who belongs to the younger a poor person, under a future Republican administration, who donates to Planned Parenthood.

If you want to trade your rights for security, and you'll have neither.

Too bad that neither of the parties in power seem to remember that this is a country in which people, citizens and noncitizens alike, are entitled to certain basic rights. Rather than dealing with the root of the problem effectively, they want to chase after the poll numbers and do things which degrade our civil rights. I had hoped that Atty. Gen. Holder with a better sense than to make such a proposition, but then I remembered this was a man put into office by Pres. Obama.and the one thing that Pres. Obama has demonstrated so far during his tenure of office is that he has little respect for those who do not agree with him or those who threaten his power base. Unfortunately, this ends up resulting in legislation that hurts all, instead of the people that the president is engaged in a grudge match with.

In its zeal to win, the Obama administration seeming to forget that it was put in power to help people. To protect the Constitution. Not to shred it.

No comments: