11 May 2010

holding pattern on rule of law

Attorney General Eric Holder seems to be giving in to the push to allow those accused of being terrorists to have their Constitutional rights waived…at least, for a while.

“For months, the administration has defended the criminal justice system as strong enough to handle terrorism cases,” says Charlie Savage, reporter for the New York Times. “Mr. Holder acknowledged the abrupt shift of tone, characterizing the administration’s stance as a ‘new priority’ and ‘big news.’” Holder wants Congress to enact a law allowing for lengthier interrogation without notifying suspects of their Miranda rights—the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

While measures like this may make many of us feel safe, they are short-sighted. When we start monkeying around with the framework of law that protects us from the power of the state, in the long run, it imperils us. Who decides who will be accused of being a terrorist (while pretending that an accusation equals guilt). Who watches the watchers?

(The image is cover art from the band Holding Pattern.)

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