Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Lady Weeps

I spent spent a long time trying to unpack a comment made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell regarding our civilian justice system. Here's a description of his comment:

The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, says the Casey Anthony trial is proof that American courts aren't proper venues for trials of suspected terrorists.

Say, what?

Yes, it is difficult to get a conviction in a criminal trial. The government has to present enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Apparently Mitch McConnell thinks that's a bad thing, a flaw. Now that is bad enough, but it gets worse. He thinks foreigners don't deserve constitutional protections.

"I don't think a foreigner is entitled to all the protections of the Bill of Rights," McConnell told Fox News. "They should not be in U.S. courts."

So much for the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I think Michael McGough got it right in his brief post on a Los Angeles Times opinion blog:

It's not often that someone comes out in favor of kangaroo courts, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came close to doing so the other day. McConnell said that the acquittal of Casey Anthony proved that accused terrorists shouldn't receive civilian trials. McConnell and other Republicans prefer that they be tried by military commissions.

Problem is, military commissions -- though different in some respects from civilian trials -- still require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Let me quote: "Before a vote is taken on the findings, the military judge must instruct the commission members 'that the accused must be presumed to be innocent until his guilt is established by legal and competent evidence beyond reasonable doubt.' "

McConnell is going to have look elsewhere for his idea[l] judicial system. Maybe Saudi Arabia?

Where do these guys come from and why are they running my country?

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