Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has emerged as the GOP's preeminent culture war counterterrorist, ascends to heretofore unreached levels of self-parody by arguing that the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony proves that terrorists shouldn't be tried in federal court:
"These are not American citizens. We just found with the Caylee Anthony case how difficult it is to get a conviction in a U.S. court," McConnell told "Fox News Sunday." "I don't think a foreigner is entitled to all the protection in the Bill of Rights. They should not be in U.S. courts and before military commissions."
I'm looking forward to McConnell introducing legislation that would force parents suspected of killing their children into the military commissions system. When will the Democrats understand that we're at war with child abuse?
What's remarkable is that McConnell's stated objection to the use of federal courts for terrorism suspects is based on the possibility that they might be acquitted. Think about that for a second--McConnell supports the military commissions system because he doesn't think anyone accused of terrorism could possibly be innocent.
Also, despite the right wing populist argument that foreigners aren't "entitled to all the protection in the Bill of Rights," the Constitution has never in history been interpreted that way by the Supreme Court. Quite the opposite, going as far back as 1886 Wong Wing v. U.S. case:
Applying this reasoning to the fifth and sixth amendments, it must be concluded that all persons within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection guarantied by those amendments, and that even aliens shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
No where in the Bill of Rights does it imply that those rights apply merely to citizens, it grants them to "persons" or "people." That makes sense, because the Bill of Rights is as much about limiting the government's authority to do certain things as it is about protecting individual rights. "Persons" and "citizens" are not used interchangeably in the Constitution, so it's not as though the Framers were unaware of the distinction. Arguing that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to foreigners in American custody is nonsense.
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