The P-G Editorial Board has this to say about it this morning:
In criminal proceedings, citizens of the United States are guaranteed their rights by the Constitution. Any chipping away of this bedrock principle should invite alarm -- and never mind any high-minded excuse offered by the government, even if it involves national security.And ends with:
In arguing for the change, Sen. Lieberman said, "We're fighting an enemy who doesn't wear the uniform of a conventional army or follow the law of war." True enough, but a murky situation is not helped by disrespecting the rights of citizenship.The fact that, according to Talkingpointsmemo, no one is supporting this bill (not even the conservatives) shows how mistaken it was.
Rep. Altmire said, "Individuals who actively support terrorist organizations dedicated to harming our nation do not deserve to enjoy the privileges of American citizenship." And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, head of the department that would judge Americans according to the overly broad words of this bill, said: "United States citizenship is a privilege -- it is not a right."
Memo to both: A driver's license is a privilege. Citizenship, whether attained by birth or naturalization, is sanctioned by the Constitution, the guarantor of the rights of citizens. That document does not have an asterisk on the people's rights saying, "Not applicable to alleged enemy combatants." This constitutionally dubious legislation promotes fear, not security.
It's probably a safe bet that if House Republican Leader John Boehner backs away from a conservative, terrorism-related bill called "TEA," the legislation both goes too far, and isn't going anywhere.And how much of a mistake it was for Altmire to support it.