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Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Old 05-06-10, 01:25 PM
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Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Senator Lieberman and others want to strip American citizenship of anybody who commits a terrorist act (is that even Constituional? I'm not sure) in an effort to avoid having to respect their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. I'm not sure how that would work -- presumably, by the time we've followed the procedures for determining that they are terrorists and stripping them of their citizenship, they will have already availed themselves of legal representation. Moreover, the rights identified in the Bill of Rights are rights that all people have, not just citizens (endowed by their Creator FTW!), so whether you arrest John Q. American or Mohammad Q. Yemeni, the Fourth Amendment identifes actions the United States cannot take in prosecuting him.

And then there's this:

Congress, Up in Arms
By GAIL COLLINS

There seems to be a strong sentiment in Congress that the only constitutional right suspected terrorists have is the right to bear arms.

“I think you’re going too far here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. He was speaking in opposition to a bill that would keep people on the F.B.I. terrorist watch list from buying guns and explosives.

Say what?

Yes, if you are on the terrorist watch list, the authorities can keep you from getting on a plane but not from purchasing an AK-47. This makes sense to Congress because, as Graham accurately pointed out, “when the founders sat down and wrote the Constitution, they didn’t consider flying.”

The subject of guns turns Congress into a twilight zone. People who are perfectly happy to let the government wiretap phones go nuts when the government wants to keep track of weapons permits. A guy who stands up in the House and defends the torture of terror suspects will nearly faint with horror at the prospect of depriving someone on the watch list of the right to purchase a pistol.

“We make it so easy for dangerous people to get guns. If it’s the Second Amendment, it doesn’t matter if they’re Osama bin Laden,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Graham wanted to make it clear that just because he doesn’t want to stop gun purchases by possible terrorists, that doesn’t mean he’s not tough on terror.

“I am all into national security. ... I want to stop reading these guys their Miranda rights,” he said.

The Obama administration has been criticized by many Republicans for having followed the rules about how long you can question a terror suspect before you read him his rights. These objections have been particularly loud since the arrest of Faisal Shahzad in the attempted Times Square bombing. No one seems moved by the fact that Shahzad, after being told that he had the right to remain silent, continued talking incessantly.

“Nobody in their right mind would expect a Marine to read someone caught on the battlefield their rights,” Graham said.

Terror threats make politicians behave somewhat irrationally. But the subject of guns makes them act like a paranoid mother ferret protecting her litter. The National Rifle Association, the fiercest lobby in Washington, grades every member of Congress on how well they toe the N.R.A. line. Lawmakers with heavily rural districts would rather vote to legalize carrying concealed weapons in kindergarten than risk getting less than 100 percent.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Terrorists and Guns: The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms,” concerned a modest bill sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. It would allow the government to stop gun sales to people on the F.B.I. terror watch list the same way it does people who have felony convictions. Because Congress has repeatedly rejected this idea, 1,119 people on the watch list have been able to purchase weapons over the last six years. One of them bought 50 pounds of military grade explosives.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, dutifully trekked down to Washington to plead for the bill on behalf of the nation’s cities. The only thing they got for their trouble was praise for getting the city through the Times Square incident in one piece. And almost everyone had a good word for the T-shirt vendor who first noticed the suspicious car and raised an alert. Really, if someone had introduced a bill calling for additional T-shirt vendors, it would have sailed through in a heartbeat.

Gun legislation, not so popular.

Lautenberg’s bill has been moldering in committee, and that is not going to change.

“Let me emphasize that none of us wants a terrorist to be able to purchase a gun,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who nevertheless went on to argue against allowing the government to use the terrorist watch list to keep anyone from being able to purchase, um, a gun.

“Some of the people pushing this idea are also pushing the idea of banning handguns,” said Graham, darkly. “I don’t think banning handguns makes me safer.”

The terrorist watch list is huge, and some of the names on it are undoubtedly there in error. The bill would allow anyone denied the right to purchase a firearm an appeal process, but that would deprive the would-be purchaser some precious gun-owning time. Before we subject innocent Americans “to having to go into court and pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back, I want to slow down and think about this,” said Graham.

Slow is going to be very slow, and the thinking could go on for decades.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/op...ollins.html?hp
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Old 05-06-10, 01:29 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Senator Lieberman and others want to strip American citizenship of anybody who commits a terrorist act
Before or after they're convicted?
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Old 05-06-10, 01:46 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Moreover, the rights identified in the Bill of Rights are rights that all people have, not just citizens (endowed by their Creator FTW!), so whether you arrest John Q. American or Mohammad Q. Yemeni, the Fourth Amendment identifes actions the United States cannot take in prosecuting him.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/op...ollins.html?hp

In theory, I would probably agree that the rights described are thought to be rights held by all, not just US citizens. However, I would think it inarguable that the founding fathers had neither the ability nor the inclination to SECURE those rights for all humans across the globe---and there was never an intention by them that founding the US (which is what those documents were drawn up for) was a means for imposing a global legislation on mankind. I think there was always a logical understanding that the finite resources of the US would require us to discriminate as to who we would secure those rights for, and "citizens" would seem to me to be a pretty reasonable demarcation line.


edit: and I'm opposed to stripping people of their citizenship.

Last edited by Ky-Fi; 05-06-10 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-06-10, 01:47 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Before or after they're convicted?
Upon arrest, though the individual would have the right to challenge that removal of citizenship.

Note that the bill Senator Lieberman introduced today only applies to U.S. citizens arrested on foreign soil, so it's somewhat at odds with his rhetoric and the immediate cause of this issue (Monday's arrest of Times Square suspect Faisel Shazad).

Also, while I singled Senator Lieberman out, he's far from the only legislator supporting this -- lawmakers from both sides of the aisle support this and I would be surprised if it doesn't pass.
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Old 05-06-10, 01:50 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

OK, we've determined that Lemmy doesn't believe in due process and hates lawyers. Anyone else?
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Old 05-06-10, 01:51 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
In theory, I would probably agree that the rights described are thought to be rights held by all, not just US citizens. However, I would think it inarguable that the founding fathers had neither the ability nor the inclination to SECURE those rights for all humans across the globe---and there was never an intention by them that founding the US (which is what those documents were drawn up for) was a means for imposing a global legislation on mankind. I think there was always a logical understanding that the finite resources of the US would require us to discriminate as to who we would secure those rights for, and "citizens" would seem to me to be a pretty reasonable demarcation line.
The Founding Fathers weren't trying to secure any rights for anyone. The Founding Father's conception of rights was that all people had them by virtue of being people. The Constitution was an attempt to create a system of government that was limited in the ways in which it could violate people's rights, and the Bill of Rights was an expression of limitations on the government, not a grant of rights to individuals.

Put differently, the U.S. government can no more take away a Candian's right to an attorney in U.S. court proceedings than it can take away an American's because the U.S. government has no power (in a Constitutional sense) to engage in a criminal court proceeding where the accused is denied the right to counsel. The identity of the accused is (or should be) irrelevant to the analysis.
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Old 05-06-10, 01:55 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
The Founding Fathers weren't trying to secure any rights for anyone. The Founding Father's conception of rights was that all people had them by virtue of being people. The Constitution was an attempt to create a system of government that was limited in the ways in which it could violate people's rights, and the Bill of Rights was an expression of limitations on the government, not a grant of rights to individuals.

Put differently, the U.S. government can no more take away a Candian's right to an attorney in U.S. court proceedings than it can take away an American's because the U.S. government has no power (in a Constitutional sense) to engage in a criminal court proceeding where the accused is denied the right to counsel. The identity of the accused is (or should be) irrelevant to the analysis.
Hmmm....good argument.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:00 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Upon arrest, though the individual would have the right to challenge that removal of citizenship.

Note that the bill Senator Lieberman introduced today only applies to U.S. citizens arrested on foreign soil, so it's somewhat at odds with his rhetoric and the immediate cause of this issue (Monday's arrest of Times Square suspect Faisel Shazad).

Also, while I singled Senator Lieberman out, he's far from the only legislator supporting this -- lawmakers from both sides of the aisle support this and I would be surprised if it doesn't pass.

I noted this in one article:

The bill would expand a 1940s era law that requires citizens fighting in a military force that is an enemy of the U.S. to renounce their citizenship to include those who are part of a terrorist organization.

Now my question is Lieberman one of those who takes the view that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to Islamic terrorists because they are not part of an enemy military force.

Is he trying to have it both ways?


And for pete's sake, Schumer is for it. What the fuck is up with your liberal politicians? Good for absolutely nothing.


And I really don't get how one can make the distinction btwn citizen caught here and citizen caught abroad. How does the geography make a difference?
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Old 05-06-10, 02:01 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Should we have drones over every major US City ready to strike these guys? (with presidential approval only, of course)
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Old 05-06-10, 02:05 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
Should we have drones over every major US City ready to strike these guys? (with presidential approval only, of course)
How long before one of those drones "accidentally" hits a Tea Party?
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Old 05-06-10, 02:09 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
The system's so fucked that no sane person would willfully immerse themselves in the legal cesspool, career-wise, unless they were/are sociopathic greedsters.
Yeah, that's it.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:13 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
How long before one of those drones "accidentally" hits a Tea Party?
Considering the present administration's significant increase in the use of drone attacks and our President's known dislike for the tea party movement, I would say not long at all.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:17 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
Considering the present administration's significant increase in the use of drone attacks and our President's known dislike for the tea party movement, I would say not long at all.
In other words, the current Congress would have no problem authorizing it.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:35 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Obviously the biggest problem with this (to me) is what would be considered terrorism. Obama thinks everything that isn't what he wants is terrorism, or at least anyone who owns a gun, votes Republican, etc.

And then, what if it is a terrorist act not against the US, but against some lab that tests on animals, or some company that builds SUVs?
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Old 05-06-10, 02:37 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Obviously the biggest problem with this (to me) is what would be considered terrorism. Obama thinks everything that isn't what he wants is terrorism, or at least anyone who owns a gun, votes Republican, etc.

And then, what if it is a terrorist act not against the US, but against some lab that tests on animals, or some company that builds SUVs?
Part of Senator Douchebag's bill includes: "providing material support." Now define that. Oh and you only have to meet a preponderance standard (50%); not beyond reasonable doubt.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:47 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
If I were 50% sure someone was going to blow up an office buliding or release some nerve gas or drive a bomb-truck into a military bunker, I'd take him out of the equation myself if the authorities wouldn't.
Fortunately for the rest of us, you're not tasked with that responsibility.
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Old 05-06-10, 02:48 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
If I were 50% sure someone was going to blow up an office buliding or release some nerve gas or drive a bomb-truck into a military bunker, I'd take him out of the equation myself if the authorities wouldn't.
Want a list of people I'm 50% sure about? (Don't worry... you're only up to 37% so far on my list, as long as you stay happy with your woman, remain unemployed, and have an ample supply of weed)
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Old 05-06-10, 04:19 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
Considering the present administration's significant increase in the use of drone attacks and our President's known dislike for the tea party movement, I would say not long at all.
Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Obama thinks everything that isn't what he wants is terrorism, or at least anyone who owns a gun, votes Republican, etc.
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Old 05-06-10, 04:56 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

^ Agreed. I think we may have some closet Tea Partiers in our midst.
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Old 05-06-10, 05:21 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Numanoid View Post
^ Agreed. I think we may have some closet Tea Partiers in our midst.

Yeah, because that even in some small way describes me.


Can't wait to vote for Palin also!!
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Old 05-06-10, 05:49 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
Considering the present administration's significant increase in the use of drone attacks and our President's known dislike for the tea party movement, I would say not long at all.
They're second on the list, right after the Jonas Brothers*

*A policy I think we can all support.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:46 PM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by Numanoid View Post
^ Agreed. I think we may have some closet Tea Partiers in our midst.
Unofrtunately, that name came out after the Department Of Homeland Securities report on how to spot a right wing terrorist.
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Old 05-07-10, 11:25 AM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Senator Lieberman and others want to strip American citizenship of anybody who commits a terrorist act (is that even Constituional? I'm not sure) in an effort to avoid having to respect their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
I think you mean to include the Sixth in here as well.

Originally Posted by Fifth Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Originally Posted by Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
I fail to see the word "citizen" in there at all. I really wish certain politicians would get it through their thick skulls that the Bill of Rights does not document rights granted to the people. Sometimes they are inconvenient, but freedom has a price.
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Old 05-07-10, 11:47 AM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

Rarely do we see someone admit they'd vote for Sarah Pailn around here.
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Old 05-07-10, 11:50 AM
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Re: Terrorism suspects and Constitutional Rights

The worse is when you get Pols on tv talking as if respecting civil rights for accused terrorists limits the rights that are available to me. Like we've got a bucket-o-rights and the lawmen scoop out some for each arrest, eventually we'll run out if we're too generous with them.
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