ACLU Calls On Administration And Congress To Follow The Rule Of Law In Terrorism Cases

May 4, 2010 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – In the wake of the recent attempted Times Square bombing, there have been misguided calls from within and outside of Congress to circumvent our criminal justice system, including proposals that would deny due process, abandon our federal court system and even strip citizenship from suspects who have not been convicted of any crime.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:

“The Obama administration should reject all calls to circumvent the criminal justice system when handling terrorism suspects. Obeying the Constitution is not optional, and we don’t decide whether to apply it on a case by case basis.

“The Obama administration made the correct and obvious decision to place Faisal Shahzad in our criminal justice system. U.S. citizens accused of terrorism, like all criminal suspects, should be handled by our criminal justice system and tried in our federal criminal courts. The whole idea of having constitutional protections is that they be applied across the board equally when people stand accused by our government. That is the only way for us to rely on our justice system and its results.

“Our criminal justice system is fully capable of protecting security interests while also upholding our values. If we have learned nothing else over the last decade, it’s that circumventing the rule of law leads to tragic consequences. To abandon due process in terrorism cases turns the rule of law on its head and flies in the face of the values that we are fighting to protect.”

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