Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The front door is closed

This week, the Supreme Court closed its front door. Over the door is engraved in Vermont marble one of the fundamental aspirations of America, EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.

The court took this step because it fears terror. Never mind the symbolism.

This week, evidence led to the arrest of a Pakistani, naturalized to be an American citizen, for what was, by all appearances, his plot to blow up Times Square. Front door, back door, side door, it didn't matter to him.

But he understood how attacking a symbol instills fear, the strategic purpose of the tactic of terror attacks.

Republicans, true to form, think that this alleged citizen terrorist, arrested for a crime on American soil, should not have been read his Miranda rights, as our law demands. Instead, they want to exploit the fear of Americans to score the cheapest political points. Never mind that the feds used a public safety exception to Miranda initially to interrogate the suspect.

Republicans in Washington - and a substantial proportion of their voters - do not believe in law. They believe in summary vigilantism. They are dismayed that the defendant has apparently confessed and is cooperating. They were eager to flay the Obama administration for not torturing this man, but now they're all dressed up in leather like a sadist with nowhere to go but home to the missus.

The Republicans are happy to risk the validity of the suspect's confession, happy to let him off the hook under our law. That would give them more political wedge issues to divide the country. Perfect!

It's scary that one of the major political parties in the United States couldn't give the slightest crap about the legal foundation of our country. They are in fact not the literal definition of conservatives. They are radicals. Their promise is coup d'etat in slow motion.

And yet they're not a marginal splinter group. They're the second largest political grouping in America.

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