Thursday, May 6, 2010

You Have The Right

Maybe we should take up a collection to send Pat Buchanan to law school or at least buy him some DVD’s of episodes of Law and Order so that he will understand the concept of the rule of law.

On Hardball last night he was talking about Faisal Shahzad and he asked, “why would you Mirandize him?” Because A) it’s the law, and B) not Mirandizing him would hamper the prosecution’s ability to convict him. The Miranda warnings actually make it easier to convict someone, not harder. That’s because without the warning, the government cannot use any statements the suspect makes unless he has been informed of his rights. Once that is done, “whatever you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” So basically what Mr. Buchanan is saying is that he wants the government to subvert their own case against Mr. Shahzad.

It also seems that reserve JAG officer and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) missed out on that part of law school where they taught you about the Bill of Rights.

And as digby points out, the government doesn’t have a choice. The Supreme Court has ruled and since reaffirmed that suspects must be informed of their rights and that the government must follow the law. Just because Pat Buchanan and his fellow travelers on the right think the Constitution can be interpreted the way they like it to fit the moment — ironic, isn’t it? — doesn’t change the Fifth Amendment or the fact that Miranda warnings or not, a suspect still has the right to remain silent.

Perhaps Mr. Buchanan should invoke that right himself.

Just out of curiosity, where was Mr. Buchanan’s objection to Miranda when they arrested Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski (the unibomber), the Hutaree militia, or any other number of right-wing terrorists who were all American citizens and, unlike Faisal Shahzad, actually killed people?

PS: When Glenn Beck is the voice of reason on this matter, you know you’ve taken your first step into Wonderland.