It’s becoming clearer what Attorney General Eric Holder meant when he spoke of the need to “modernize” Miranda. (Even though he also said that “giving Miranda warnings has not had a negative impact on our ability to obtain information from terrorism suspects” ). According to this latest proposal under consideration by the Obama administration, such a “modernization” includes doing away with the Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial and to counsel.
“President Obama’s legal advisers are considering asking Congress to allow the government to detain terrorism suspects longer after their arrests before presenting them to a judge for an initial hearing, according to administration officials familiar with the discussions.
If approved, the idea to delay hearings would be attached to broader legislation to allow interrogators to withhold Miranda warnings from terrorism suspects for lengthy periods, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proposed last week.
The goal of both measures would be to open a window of time after an arrest in which interrogators could question a terrorism suspect without an interruption that might cause the prisoner to stop talking. It is not clear how long of a delay the administration is considering seeking.”
President Obama has been criticized by civil libertarians in the past for continuing the policies of the Bush administration. This one goes further, it’s beyond Bush:
“Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, assailed the Obama administration for considering such ideas. He noted that the administration of President George W. Bush, which was heavily criticized by civil-liberties groups, never proposed such modifications to criminal procedures.”
Marcy Wheeler points out how this denies the accused of their right to counsel:
“The way it works…is you’re arrested and you’re brought before the judge (either to be charged or arraigned) and if you don’t have a lawyer, the judge makes sure you have one.
“[T]he Administration wants to “modernize” Miranda. They want to postpone bringing alleged terrorists before a Court (though it’s not clear why). Are they, by delaying court appearances, trying to at the same time delay the time when alleged terrorists get assigned lawyers? Are they trying to dissuade alleged terrorists from having lawyers?”
And Jeralyn at Talk Left warns of the slippery slope:
“Taking rights taken from terror suspects today just makes it easier to take them from all of us tomorrow. It’s ironic that this is one right even the Bush Administration didn’t try and tinker with, and its our Democratic president showing so little respect for the rule of law.”
More constitutional rights and protections bite the dust in the course of carrying out the “war on terror.” But hey, whatever it takes to keep us safe, right President Bush Obama?