Wednesday, May 5, 2010

McCain's Unconstitutional Desire for the NY Car Bomber

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, you're probably aware of the failed terrorist attempt to explode a car bomb in New York's Times Square over the weekend. This act is disgusting in nature, completely unjustifiable, and should be dealt with properly. But, sadly, some in our government are already showing their disregard for the Constitution when discussing the situation.

On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain plainly vocalized his views regarding the Justice Department's actions. According to Sen. McCain, "It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights." The Arizona senator went on to explain that only after receiving "all the information we have" and finding out what the attack is "all about" should we even consider reading the suspect his rights.

So, in essence, the senator would like to gut the rights reading process of all its significance. His approach amounts to the following: Find out if one's rights will get in the way. If they don't, go ahead and let them have them. If they do, let the Constitution be damned.

Of course, the argument over the rights of terrorists is no new one; we have faced it a number of times, including the controversy around last year's Christmas Eve bomber case. But where those cases centered around the issue of whether or not a non-citizen had constitutional rights, this particular case does not.

The Times Square terror suspect is an American citizen, and there is no denying his constitutional rights of due process warrant protection. Making this claim is in no way an act of sympathy toward the would-be murderer or a call to impede justice. Rather, it is a call for justice as required by the Constitution--a justice that doesn't dissolve liberty or the rule of law.

If the suspect is truly guilty, he will face a number of charges that carry with them the death penalty. McCain even admits that he thinks justice will be served through traditional channels. Therefore, his concern is obviously unmerited, if it is justice he seeks. Still, wanting to squeeze information from the suspect without constitutional restrictions, McCain is dissatisfied with granting a US citizen his rights.

In a country gone mad, rights have become the enemy and disregard for the rule of law has become the desired norm. When the desire is for even US citizens to be denied basic rights, we are truly in danger.

I am confident that justice will be served, and I am confident that the Constitution will aid in carrying it out. Otherwise, we will merely see injustice on the part of the state. The Constitution protects liberty for us all. When its protection is eroded, even for undeserving terrorists, we all suffer in the long run.


  1. I know where you are coming from, and largely agree with you. But reconsider the premises - are Miranda rights required by the constitution? Is not reading them a violation of a person's (either constitutional or moral) rights? McCain states "Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about.." Can one give and take rights?

    I believe the error is deeper that what you have explored here. It two-fold, 1) failure to understand what a right is, and 2) failure to accept those as absolute.

    It is a very good work you are doing here, BTW.

  2. You are absolutely right on both accounts. And McCain's folly isn't really about Miranda rights. I don't even agree that the reading of them is required by the Constitution. What is required is due process of law to citizens. That is what McCain and company want to deny, and that is where the problem lies.