Amanda Terkel, responding to a post from Matthew Yglesias, writes that not Mirandizing Faisal Shahzad, the Connecticut man arrested in connection with the failed Times Square bombing, would "ensure" that he wouldn't be convicted.
This isn't accurate. Yglesias is right that law-enforcement professionals know better than Republican politicians do about when Mirandizing or invoking the public-safety exemption from Miranda is appropriate, but the weight of Shahzad's voluntary statements on his ultimate conviction depends entirely on the quality of the evidence in the case against him. Given the speed with which authorities found him, I'm guessing that the evidence trail is pretty strong, and what Shahzad says may not matter too much. Not Mirandizing him could jeopardize the case, but it won't "ensure" that he won't be convicted*.
Joe Lieberman says this:
I think it’s time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply it to American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship, and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.
This is really absurd. What Lieberman is proposing is that we strip people of American citizenship based on mere suspicion of a crime, which would then mean that they have no right to due process. Actually, not even suspicion of a crime -- mere "affiliation" with people the government thinks are bad guys. What Bill of Rights?
This is a dumb idea, because foreigners legally on American soil are as entitled to due process as American citizens. Such an approach wouldn't actually do anything to fight terrorism; it would merely offer more ammunition for the notion that America is at war with Islam and not terrorists, since this legal double standard would only apply to Muslims accused of terrorism. From the point of view of gathering intelligence, throwing away the key gives little for interrogators to offer in the way of incentives. This is culture-war counterterrorism, and it's about as useful as it sounds.
Moreover, we have two examples of putting people accused of terrorism in the military system who are already on American soil -- one legal resident and one American citizen. In the case of Jose Padilla, years of military detention ultimately resulted in his being transferred back into the civilian system. In the case of legal resident Ali Saleh al-Marri, years of detention and fruitless interrogation culminated in his transfer back into the civilian system, at which point he began cooperating with interrogators. In both cases, the detainees were transferred back into the criminal justice system in order to avoid Supreme Court cases the government was likely to lose, and in both cases denying these men due process offered nothing in terms of making America safer.
Both of these men were convicted, years and years after they were initially apprehended. Why Republicans -- and Lieberman -- would want to institutionalize this failed process is anyone's guess, but there's no way it would pass constitutional muster. There's no benefit to denying Shahzad due process, but doing so might create significant problems down the road. So put away the pitchforks already.
*If he's guilty, that is.
-- A. Serwer
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(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)