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Entries in Constitution (3)


SCOTUS/ObamaCare Showdown Begins


After two years of arguments and law suits by a couple of dozen states, the United States Supreme Court will finally take up the Constitutionality of Obama's massive health care law.

This is an issue because the key part of the law-the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes-doesn't take effect until 2014. One federal appeals court ruled the lawsuits should wait until that actually happens. But even if the Supreme Court agrees, the justices this week will go ahead and hear all the other arguments against the law.

At the heart of the matter is the 'individual mandate' portion of the law.

Tuesday is the ballgame. (sic) That's when the justices will take up the so-called "individual mandate," the controversial requirement that Americans have to buy insurance.

Legal experts say that ruling the mandate as not Constitutional drives a stake in the heart of the rest of the law.


Justice Ginsburg Doesn't See Constitution As Model For Egyptians


On a recent visit to Egypt, Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg advised government officials there not to us the United States Constitution as a model for their own.

I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012," Ginsburg said in an interview on Al Hayat television last Wednesday. "I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done."

Small wonder liberal Justices can't be depended upon to defend the very document they swore to uphold.


Here We Go Again - Constitution 101 Now In Session

OK, so we have a naturalized US citizen in custody as the primary suspect in the Times Square "SUV bomb" incident.  The arrest occurred within 48 hours, and Pakistan has already detained several people in connection with the abortive attack.  By all measures, it would seem that law enforcement--from the NYPD to the Federal agencies--moved quickly and well.  This is particularly impressive when one considers that this guy apparently "came from nowhere," according to government sources:

Faisal Shahzad was not known to the U.S. intelligence community before the failed bombing attempt in New York City and there was no derogatory information about him in terrorism-related government databases, an official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity amid the ongoing investigation.

Shahzad passed all the criminal and national security background checks required for citizenship, the Associated Press reported.

So, what do prominent Republicans have to say about this?  Take a guess:

It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.

"Obviously that would be a serious least until we find out as much information we have," McCain said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" [...]

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about," McCain added.

Um...okay, what are other folks saying?  Here's Peter King and Joe Lieberman:

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Peter King also questioned whether Mr. Shahzad deserved Miranda rights, according to Politico: “I know he’s an American citizen, but still...’’

And Senator Joseph Lieberman said it might be time to revisit whether Miranda rights should apply to people who are “apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.’’

Politics Daily provided additional details, as well as a response from Rep. Steny Hoyer:

Law enforcement officials said they first interrogated Shahzad under a public safety exception, in case another attack was imminent, but then read him his Miranda rights, which he waived.

"This is a U.S. citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, and subject to the constitutional protections and constraints of every U.S. citizen. He is obviously suspected of committing a crime, of putting together a device to kill people and harm U.S. property. Even Glenn Beck says he's a U.S. citizen and deserving of constitutional rights," Hoyer said.

So, they used the right tool (the public safety exception) when it was necessary, then Mirandized him when appropriate.  It was all done according to the law and the Constitution, and--just as in the case of the failed Christmas Day attack--the suspect is talking.  What's McCain's issue?  How can King come out with anything close to 'yeah, he's a citizen, BUT...'?  Lieberman thinks we need to revisit this?

You don't "give" someone Miranda rights; they have those rights, even when they are not formally informed of that fact as Miranda requires.  We have a half-century of jurisprudence on this question, including a 7-2 decision from the 2000 SCOTUS (Dickinson, under Chief Justice Rehnquist) that Miranda warnings have "become part of our national culture."  In that decision, the SCOTUS ruled that Congress could not overrule Miranda by staute.  (Senator Lieberman might want to review that decision.)

What part of this is difficult to understand?