Friday, May 07, 2010

Why Mirandize?

The usual argument is being raised over whether or not to “Mirandize” Faisal Shahzad, the man who attempted to set the car bomb in Times Square. Some, of course, say not; others proclaim that he is entitled to that protection because he is an American citizen.

Liebermann has even gone so far into bizarroland, in an effort to counter that latter argument, as to suggest that a suspected terrorist be stripped of his citizenship in order to deal with him outside of our system of justice.

Time after time I’ve heard something to the effect of, “He is a citizen of this country, he has rights under the constitution.” That argument implies that justice is a right of citizenship, granted by our constitution, but it suggests that the speaker does not really know the meaning of our constitution.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: The Constitution of the United States is fundamental law of the U.S. federal system of government…

US History Encyclopedia: The Constitution, which has served since 1789 as the basic frame of government of the republic of the United States…

Columbia Encyclopedia: Constitution of the United States, document embodying the fundamental principles upon which the American republic is conducted.

Law Encyclopedia: Constitution of the United States; a written document … the absolute rule of action and decision for all branches and officers of the government,

This document does not define or describe what the citizens of America get, it defines what the government of America is. It describes what the government may or may not do, and what it must do. When it describes the interaction between the government and persons, it does not say “citizens of the country,” it does not say “governed person,” it merely says “person.”

They way that we treat those suspected of a crime, as defined in our constitution, is not about those suspects, it is about our form of government, it is about what kind of nation we have defined ourselves to be.

To say that we administer law differently because it is a time of war is to say that we define ourselves differently, chameleonlike, depending on circumstance. To say that someone is not deserving of the principle of our law because he is evil is to prejudge him; which is an abandonment of our principle of law. To say that someone is not entitled to our principle of law because he is not a citizen is insufferable arrogance.

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