promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Posts Tagged ‘due process’

‘Rights Aren’t Rights if Someone Can Take Them Away’

In Individual Sovereignty, liberty and rights, politics, rights on May 7, 2010 at 1:25 am

Who says Congress is can’t come together for the common good?

Yesterday, in a rare display of bipartisanship, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) and Congressmen Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act.

It should be renamed the American Citizen Expatriation Act.

The bill aims to strip Americans of their citizenship if suspected of affiliating with a foreign terrorist organization and are apprehended abroad. It would amend the 1940s bill, 8 USC 1481, which gives the federal government the power to strip Americans of their citizenship if they choose to fight for a foreign military force. So far, the White House appears to not support the bill.

Senator Joe Lieberman, the bill’s main architect, wants to expand 8 USC 1481.

“Because it just seems to me if you basically declare yourself to be an enemy of the United States you’re no longer entitled to the rights of citizenship,” he said.

While civil liberties groups are rightfully crying “unconstitutional” and pointing to the bill’s disregard for due process, Lieberman’s remarks reveal a more serious, and dangerous, assumption: That the rights of Americans are┬ádependent on their status as citizens and therefore, may be taken away.

Deceased controversial comedian George Carlin is rolling over in his grave:

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away, they’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of temporary privileges.”

But the U.S. Constitution wasn’t meant to protect “temporary privileges” — it was meant to recognize already existing human rights. Having these rights declared in the first ten amendments of a document doesn’t make them valid.

Actually, the Bill of Rights doesn’t even bother differentiating between citizens and non-citizens. Like the freedoms of expression and religious conviction, justice is not some privilege to be revoked. It is an inherent right — one that suspected terrorists own.

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HB 1070: Profiling Implied

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 2:48 am

On Thursday, Republican Sen. Gary Nodler met with Missouri Southern students to talk politics. During the question and answer period, one woman asked Nodler his opinion on the Arizona immigration bill.

Twenty-three year old student Echo Essary brought up the issue of discrimination. However, Nodler dismissed the idea that the law advocates “racial profiling.”

But does Arizona HB 1070 indeed promote prejudice law enforcement?

Here are the more controversial exerts from the bill:

FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON.

A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES.

It should be noted that HB 1070 was amended on Friday in an attempt to make the bill constitutionally correct. The amending legislation, HB 2162, changed the phrase “lawful contact” to “lawful stop, detention or arrest.”

However, HB 2162 only clarifies what constitutes legal contact. A “stop” can be legal — all that is needed is probable cause. As every person residing legally in the United States knows, probable cause can be anything from mud on your license plate to jaywalking.

So the problem has not been put to rest. The real controversy is that surrounding the phrase “REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN.” Arizona lawmakers have yet to clearly define what exactly would make a person suspect of being an “alien.”

So a person is lawfully stopped with probable cause present. What then suggests to the officer(s) the person is undocumented?

What Nodler and others refuse to recognize is that the Arizona law makes racial profiling nearly unavoidable. Both the plight and reaction of Arizonans is understandable. But let us be honest about the consequences their new legislation.