On Wednesday, journalists and politicians debated
the legal options for dealing with the Times Square suspect,
naturalized U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad. Few options have attracted as much
ire as that of Joe Lieberman, who suggested on Fox & Friends that "American
citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorists" should have
their citizenship removed. Jordan
of The Hill reports that the Connecticut Independent is
planning to introduce a bill that would amend a current law that "bars
American citizens from fighting for foreign armies at the price of
losing their citizenship." If the legislation is made law, it would allow people like Shahzad to be stripped of their constitutional protections and
tried before military tribunals. Lieberman's proposed bill has attracted a
hefty dose of criticism tinged with exasperation from commentators.
Process Is Too Vague Alex
Pareene of Salon needles Lieberman for the ambiguous legal
mechanics of his bill. "But what constitutes 'ties'? How is it
conclusively proven that this person was working with a foreign-based
organization? What if they're wrongfully accused? What's the standard of
proof? Lieberman's bill would create a new 'authority' to determine all
those things." After all, scoffs Pareene, its not like there aren't
courts to handle these questions. "If only we had some sort of existing
method by which we determined whether or not Americans were guilty of
- What Comes First, the Stripping or the Trial? Like
Benen is puzzled by the broad reach of Liberman's proposed bill.
"If an American citizen is accused of terrorist associations, he/she
would lose citizenship status before a conviction? In Lieberman's
vision, the defendant is punished and then gets due process? What if
authorities make a mistake and accuse someone who's innocent? Would
officials eventually give citizenship back with an 'Oops, Our Bad' card?
Senator, Yale Law School called. It wants your diploma back."
Punishment Should Fit the Crime, writes Megan
McArdle, making a novel comparison of Shahzad to American serial killers. "Can someone
explain to me--hopefully using graphs, and small words--why Joe
Lieberman is willing to share the precious blessing of American
citizenship with Charles Manson, Gary Ridgeway, and David Berkowitz, but
stripped from a guy who strapped some firecrackers to a bag of
- This Could Be Easily Abused At
Ackerman senses a slippery slope and gives a chilling
vision of the future:
Notice there's not even a head-nod at
someone who's been convicted of any charge. So let me be the first to
say that I'm on board with this. Why? Because one day, I and my clique
will rise to power. And I anticipate the day when Attorney General
Wheeler and Defense Secretary Ackerman take a dossier filled with secret
evidence to brief President Hamsher in the Oval Office. ... Immediately after leaving the Oval
Office, I instruct a JSOC detachment to apprehend former citizen Joe
Lieberman. (We did away with Posse Comitatus earlier.) You'll hear from
him later, after the threat has receded, and the Hamsher administration
pledges to treat him humanely, consistent with military necessity. We
have evidence justifying our decision, and no, you can't see it.
- Why Give Out Citizenship in the First Place? Even the
Malkin thinks there's a better solution than the Lieberman plan:
"But perhaps DHS and the State Department should concentrate on the
homeland security front door -- making sure jihadis don't get citizenship
and other immigration/entrance benefits in the first place -- instead of waiting to deal with it on the back end after the fact."
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