Do tea partiers care about the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments?

Like many civil libertarians, I have been deeply disappointed in President Obama’s insistence on keeping many of the same disturbing, unconstitutional policies that President Bush employed during the so-called war on terror. Those policies include detaining citizens without any charge.

You’d have thought that tea-partiers would express outrage against those policies, since they advertise themselves as restorers of the constitution and advocates of individual liberties or “freedoms.” The Fourth, Firth and Sixth amendments are clear about the rights that citizens have to be free of imprisonment by the state.

In a case about to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bush administration imprisoned a man, supposedly because he was a “material witness” holding valuable information about the commission of a crime. It wasn’t true and authorities never even interrogated him about any crime. From The NYT editorial page:

It can be hard to distinguish between the Bush administration and the Obama administration when it comes to detainee policy. A case the Supreme Court agreed last week to hear, Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, is one of those occasions.
It turns on a principle held sacrosanct since the country’s early days: the government cannot arrest you without evidence that you committed a crime. An exception is the material witness law, which allows the government to keep a witness from fleeing before testifying about an alleged crime by somebody else.

These principles were horribly twisted when John Ashcroft was President George W. Bush’s attorney general. The Justice Department held a former college football player in brutal conditions on the pretext that he was a material witness in a case in which he was never called to testify and which fell apart at trial.

The Bush administration’s behavior was disturbing, and so is the Obama administration’s forceful defense of this outrageous practice of using a statute intended for one purpose for something very different. Judge Milan Smith Jr. of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals called it “repugnant to the Constitution.”

The Justice Department arrested Abdullah al-Kidd, known as Lavoni Kidd when he was a star football player at the University of Idaho, at Dulles airport in March 2003 before he boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia, where he was going to work on his doctorate in Islamic studies. For over two weeks, he was treated like an enemy of the state — shackled, held in high-security cells lit 24 hours a day, and sometimes humiliated by strip searches. When Mr. Kidd was released, he was ordered to live with his wife and in-laws, restrict his travels and report to a probation officer. The restrictions lasted 15 months.

The government said Mr. Kidd was a material witness against Sami Omar Hussayen, who was tried for supporting an Islamic group that the government said “sought to recruit others to engage in acts of violence and terrorism.” A jury acquitted Mr. Hussayen on some charges and didn’t reach a verdict on others. Mr. Kidd was not called to testify. Nor was he ever charged with a crime.

Kidd has sued John Ashcroft, who was the attorney general at the time of his detention. Previously, courts have held that the attorney general would be immune from lawsuits. The Obama administration has supported that position. Where is the tea party?

330 comments Add your comment

hobby

October 25th, 2010
7:31 am

8 days
where was Jesse?, Al?, the ACLU?

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
7:45 am

Thats it Hobby blame others. In fact the ACLU and others were/are working hard to stop these abuses. So again…where is the tea party if it truly cares about the constitutional issues.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
7:45 am

Gloria Allred?

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
7:46 am

Keep up the good fight!
October 25th, 2010
7:45 am

First thing first. November 2.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
7:47 am

“Do tea partiers care about the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments?”

Do Democrats care about the 1st? What about the d-bags in Conneticut who gave poll workers permission to not allow someone to vote if they have on WWE gear? Just b/c Linda McMahon is running? Give me a break.

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
7:48 am

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of al-Kidd charging that the federal material witness law cannot be used to preventively detain or investigate suspects and that then Attorney General Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for al-Kidd’s wrongful detention.

Dont let the facts get in the way.

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
7:50 am

Pea…try showing up in a campaign t-shirt….notice the signs around the polling place that say “no campaigning” within 150 feet?

Martin the Calvinist

October 25th, 2010
7:50 am

While it is wrong to hold people w/o giving them their due process afforded to them as American citizens, the tea party’s main focus is on fiscal policies. The name of this loose group is TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY. The focus is taxation and spending. Why must you accuse the “tea party” of being unconstitutional when their views on that particular issue when you don’t really know what they believe.

Joel

October 25th, 2010
7:51 am

News flash CT, the tea party was not around in 2003.

Kamchak

October 25th, 2010
7:53 am

Dont let the facts get in the way.

Facts?

They don’t need no steenkin’ facts.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
7:54 am

“The Bush administration’s behavior was disturbing, and so is the Obama administration’s forceful defense of this outrageous practice”

Like I’ve said all along, Obama = Bush. 2 years and nothing’s changed. I still haven’t seen any hopey changey.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
7:55 am

“Pea…try showing up in a campaign t-shirt”

How is wearing a Randy Orton t-shirt campaigning? Give me a break.

SpaceyG

October 25th, 2010
8:03 am

Where are they? Ironing their robes.

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
8:04 am

Okay Pea…so I guess you’ll be cutting a check to the ACLU. I guess you were upset when Bush banned anyone from his Presidential speeches and other events if they had on any shirt that they did not agree with.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
8:06 am

Peadawg
October 25th, 2010
7:55 am

I have a question for you. How many Connecticut WWE fans do you think that were not going to vote will now?

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
8:07 am

Keep up the good fight!
October 25th, 2010
8:04 am

Did he ban those shirts from the voting booth?

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
8:10 am

Tech Man… does the constitution make a distinction between voting and the assemblies? Once you can outline the distinctions by case law, I am sure you’ll have your answer.

T-Town

October 25th, 2010
8:10 am

“Where are they? Ironing their robes.”

I guess if someone is different, or has a different opinion, you must paint them all as racist and/or bigots.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
8:11 am

“Okay Pea…so I guess you’ll be cutting a check to the ACLU”

What’s the ACLU got to do w/ this? And, no.

“I guess you were upset when Bush banned anyone from his Presidential speeches and other events if they had on any shirt that they did not agree with.”

Banning someone from a private event and banning someone from exercising their right to vote for wearing a Randy Orton t-shirt are too different things.

granny godzilla

October 25th, 2010
8:12 am

Righties take note.

Contrary to what some of what you post, our hostess does not always agree with our President.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
8:13 am

“How many Connecticut WWE fans do you think that were not going to vote will now?”

Good question. I would expect vote WWE fans up there were going to vote anyways…but especially now just to try and prove a point.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
8:13 am

“Contrary to what some of what you post, our hostess does not always agree with our President.”

That makes twice in the past week. I gotta say I’m impressed w/ Cynthia.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
8:14 am

The Tea Partyers don’t care about anything but raising a ruckus. They don’t know the difference between the budget deficit and our national debt or how capitalism works. They think they’re taxed too much when the fact is rates are at modern record lows and revenue is the same level it was in Y2K. Yes, there is a spending problem, but the main problem now is on the revenue side, partly due to the recession and loss of jobs, but mainly due to the irresponsible rate cuts. Some would say the cuts produced more revenue. I would say it was the continued deficit spending. If spending had been cut as well, then I wouldn’t have an argument.

Let all the Bush era changes expire, as scheduled, except for the estate tax. Leaving the estates to the heirs will produce revenue for all eternity, as I’ve opined before.

stands for decibels

October 25th, 2010
8:14 am

“Do tea partiers care about the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments?”

No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Bubba Bob

October 25th, 2010
8:16 am

“Do Democrats care about amendments that get in the way of what they want?”

No.

So, let’s make sure all of them are enforced by getting rid of all the idiots on both sides.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
8:16 am

If Obama has lost Cynthia, is there any hope? Only because of the shallow opposition.

dougmo2

October 25th, 2010
8:17 am

OK Cynthia, it has been 5 days now and not a peep from you about the Juan Williams firing from NPR. Here is the only black male analyst at NPR fired for speaking his mind, while all the white female reporters get a free pass for spouting their drival. Could it be that the women all happen to be leftest and Mr. Williams more moderate? Could it be that Mr. Williams goes on Fox News and gives intelligent insight? One of those white women thought it would be a great idea if the late Sen. Jesse Helms grandchildren got AIDS and no punishment was given to her. Do not tell us he got terminated for the reasons the CEO of National Progressive Radio stated. That was blatant lie and even you know that.
Your silence speaks volumes to your failure to protect the free speech you so much have.
WE ARE WAITING FOR YOUR ANSWER!

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
8:17 am

As long as they run the elections, it’s not going to happen.

TnGelding

October 25th, 2010
8:19 am

Juan got fired for being honest. Some things are better left unsaid. That said, he had to be cutting himself a little thin. Too much exposure on Fox and other networks as a guest.

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
8:20 am

So POTUS speaking at a public campaign event is a “private event.” and when someone is arrested by the US Secret Serrvice for having a t-shirt that may be anti-Bush, that is not a violation of the 1st Amend? You must have a different copy of the Constitution….and that is the problem.

Kamchak

October 25th, 2010
8:21 am

Could it be that Mr. Williams goes on Fox News and gives intelligent insight?

No.

But I do understand your need to feed that victim mentality.

stands for decibels

October 25th, 2010
8:21 am

Come on, Cynthia! Juan’s black, you’re black, feed us trolls somethin’

–shorter dougmo2 @ 8.17.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
8:23 am

Keep, it was Bush’s party and he decides who’s invited. It’s that simple. Are you going to go to court b/c you’re not “on the list” at a nightclub, party, event, etc?

stands for decibels

October 25th, 2010
8:24 am

also, Peadawg, given that you were whingeing about me being too quick to pull the “d-bag” trigger a few days back, I find your comment @ 7.47 to be rather silly.

Here’s what the actual “d-bag” official is quoted as saying:

In the Nutmeg State, local election officials control voting. But Av Harris, the spokesman for the secretary of state, said his agency has told local entities that they may ask voters to “cover up a hat, a shirt” with the WWE logo. They’ll also be available on Election Day for consultation if there’s a question about whether the presence of WWE gear should be interpreted as partisan.

“Nobody is going to be denied their right to vote, but they may ask them to cover up a shirt, go back to the car take it off, come back with a jacket on top,” Harris told POLITICO.

It may not be an issue, Harris said. Local registrars of voters — the position that controls voting most places in Connecticut — may not take issue with people advertising the WWE. Harris said they told the local officials to “evaluate it on a case-by-case basis” to determine if its interfering with voting.

Somehow I don’t think you’d be as upset if, say, a state election official had said similar things about Air America t-shirts being worn at the polls in Minnesota, coupla years back.

Union

October 25th, 2010
8:26 am

“The government said Mr. Kidd was a material witness against Sami Omar Hussayen, who was tried for supporting an Islamic group that the government said “sought to recruit others to engage in acts of violence and terrorism.” A jury acquitted Mr. Hussayen on some charges and didn’t reach a verdict on others. Mr. Kidd was not called to testify. Nor was he ever charged with a crime.”

so… when a country has nuclear weapons and doenst use them.. it doesnt make them a nuclear power?

MaJo

October 25th, 2010
8:26 am

Cynthia, shouldn’t you be more concerned whether or not the Obama administration cares about the the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments? How can you have more concern over the Tea Partiers than you do the President of the United States? He has the power to change things immediately, the Tea Partiers power only extends to the ballot box. Yet the most you can muster about the Obama administration is being “deeply disappointed.”

stands for decibels

October 25th, 2010
8:27 am

sorry, neglected to include a cite for my post @ 8.24, here it is.

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
8:28 am

Keep up the good fight!
October 25th, 2010
8:20 am

I don’t remember that.

Please give me a link to look it up.

John

October 25th, 2010
8:29 am

CT – What an inane column. Does Jesse Jackson care about anyone other than himself?

Keep up the good fight!

October 25th, 2010
8:32 am

Pea…you might want to read the history of the 1st Amend. You dont know what you are talking about.

But then again, some Tea Partiers have said that violent revolution is a “consitutional remedy.” Why does Beck, Bachman and others hang around with tea terrrorist like Broden?

Don

October 25th, 2010
8:32 am

I might pay more attention to the point you’re trying to make if your source wasn’t the NY Times editorial page. You think they deal in facts?

Union

October 25th, 2010
8:33 am

things to do right after 9/11 –

1. convert to islam.

2. post on a web sites jihad as an interest

3. sell tapes and books containing the teachings of radical sheikhs

4.buy videos relating to the attacks of 9/11

that shouldnt raise any red flags..

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 25th, 2010
8:33 am

Yes, we should let every potential Islamic terrorist wander free, lest we should hurt their little feelings, and if one or two of them happen to blow up a building full of innocent women and children, is that not a small price to pay so that the “world” “likes” us?

Uh, sarc…

Tech Man

October 25th, 2010
8:34 am

Never mind, I think I found it

David S

October 25th, 2010
8:35 am

Its incredible to read the kind of comments that come out of the mouths of journalists when issue they finally are caring about dont get the attention they deserve. Its a lot like the juvenile crap you can read on blogs.

“Where were you when Bush was destroying the constitution?” “Where are the Tea Party folks now that Obama is destroying the constitution?” Meanwhile some of us have been protesting government abuse of power through the Regan administration, Clinton, both Bushes, and now. The fact that the media (the AJC included of course) chooses to ignore the active and vocal protests doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

First, the Tea Party is not a homogeneous group. Everyone has a specific item that inspires them more than others. I would venture to say that every american is similar. I would agree that the Tea Party folks need to wake up and realize that Obama is not just a socialist, but that indeed he is a war monger, a war criminal, has no respect for any of the Bill of Rights and deserves to be attacked for his foreign policy failures (continuing these senseless wars and the illegal imprisonment and torture of prisoners), but each person will focus on what pisses them off the most on any given day.

Complain about the media Cynthia, not a bunch of folks with no in-place forum to publicize their views. The media is supposed to have a responsibility to raise these issues. Where have they been since this clown was elected?

Mallory

October 25th, 2010
8:35 am

this outrageous practice of using a statute intended for one purpose for something very different.

Obamacare.

It wasn’t a tax, it was a penalty. Now it’s a tax.

Equal repugnance, Ms. Tucker?

stands for decibels

October 25th, 2010
8:36 am

things to do right after 9/11 –

1. convert to islam.

Well Ah’m proud to be yuhnnuh Mare-ick-kuhn where at least Ah know Ah’m free…

quod erat demonstrandum

October 25th, 2010
8:37 am

Here again we see the selective outrage of the lefties.

CT, a inside the beltway liberal, wants to pick and choose the amendments she cares for.

Does CT care about the 9th and 10th Amendment?

Does she understand what the 1st does –

Sadly, these all run contrary to the far left and their idea for America.

Live Free
Think for yourself
Foil the plans of the tyrants.

Peadawg

October 25th, 2010
8:37 am

“Somehow I don’t think you’d be as upset if, say, a state election official had said similar things about Air America t-shirts being worn at the polls in Minnesota, coupla years back.”

Link? I actually don’t know what you’re talking about.

T-Town

October 25th, 2010
8:37 am

Though I do not align myself with any political affiliation, I fit the demographics of the majority of their membership and have many friends who support the Tea Party. One question posed to me that I could not answer was “why is there so much fear for a bunch of middle aged citizens with a particular opinion? And why am I a racist/bigot because I believe in something different than others?” Ms. Tucker can you answer these question?