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Monday, October 18, 2010

McCain, Thune Play Jack Bauer, Torch 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Amendments

Is Bob Ellis trying to lure me in? Yesterday I grumbled about President Obama's continued abuse of the Fourth Amendment and wondered why the conservative shouters haven't added that point to their charge that the Constitution is hanging by a thread.

Comes now Sam Kephart, granted a guest column on Bob Ellis's Tea Party blog, to decry Fourth Amendment abuses advocated by, of all people, sponsoring Senator John McCain and co-sponsor Senator John Thune. Kephart alerts us to S. 3081, the Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act.

...S.3081 lacks clear definitions for the operational terms “material support,” “The potential intelligence value of the individual,” and the all-inclusive phrase “Such other matters as the President considers appropriate.” It’s Catch-22 with no way out.

Under this law as currently written, any U. S. citizen who is a war protester, publicly exhibits anti-government sentiments, is a Tea Party activist, or a political opponent of a given Administration could fall (or be made to fall) under one or more of its ill-defined and ambiguous conditions.

If the Feds believe you are committing a “suspicious activity” or “supporting hostilities,” you can be hauled off and held indefinitely in military custody with neither legal recourse nor due process. Your Constitutional rights to free speech and personal liberties would disappear with the stroke of a hidden pen [Sam Kephart, "S. 3081 and John Thune: National Security Trumps Essential Liberty," Dakota Voice, 2010.10.18].

McCain and Thune's legislation even goes so far as to prohibit the Justice Department from expending any funds to conduct trials for such "belligerents" in the regular judicial system. In other words, if you cheese off Uncle Sam, your judicial rights disappear. No warrants, no grand jury, no speedy and public trial, no jury of your peers. The government can throw you in a hole for as long as it deems "hostilities" to be in effect... which in the age of the global war on terror is forever.

S. 3081 was introduced on March 4 this year and hasn't moved from the Judiciary Committee since. Let's hope it stays that way. And let's hope we hear more from conservatives like Kephart who want to hold Senator Thune and the rest of Congress accountable for protecting all of our Constitutional freedoms from fear.

p.s.: This isn't the first time Kephart has said things I dig. It's good to see Bob Ellis associates with at least one guy who can talk sense.

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