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

WAR

October 25th, 2010
1:27 pm

i gotta admit. i really only care about the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 14th amendment. really does anyone know what the 9th amendment is WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP?

c’mon… seriously, the 9th amendment without cheating… tell me what it is?

Friend of a Friend

October 25th, 2010
1:28 pm

War
I agree with you because looking back there is no place I want to return to.

WAR

October 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

ok i just looked up the 9th amendment and it isnt really something we need to know. trust me. long live the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 14th!

Rush Limbaugh

October 25th, 2010
1:36 pm

I added up the 1st, 2nd, 5th,and 14th amendments, and then subtracted that total from 1776 and I got 911. Without these amendments, people, we’d have muslim witchcraft. That’s why I joined the Tea Party.

Shouldn’t you too?

WAR

October 25th, 2010
1:38 pm

rush @ 1:36

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

willie lynch

October 25th, 2010
1:39 pm

War,

Interesting. What program or platform would you suggest we put together? Or is there one in place already?

Billybob

October 25th, 2010
1:41 pm

The evil conservatives don’t care, AGAIN……and let me back my idea up with an opinion piece from the NY TIMES!!!!! Love it Tucker:) Liberal 101 Template….keep it coming Tucker, you smell terrific!

AmVet

October 25th, 2010
1:48 pm

From what I can see the The TPers could give a flying ____ about personal liberties and freedoms, including the most sacred one we have – habeus corpus.

Being the good Republican guppies they are, they swallowed hook, line and sinker that quasi-fascistic tripe about the war on Terror.

And they are so craven, duplicitous and capricious that they won’t even salute BHO for doing exactly what they wanted – surging into Afghanistan and keeping all of King George’s crackdowns on personal liberties, freedoms and privacy in place, untouched.

Good times out on the fringe…

HDB

October 25th, 2010
1:51 pm

WAR October 25th, 2010
1:25 pm
Understand what you mean…but that’s not the paradigm I know…and others that were raised around me know!! The preponderance of us ARE college educated…and I know that’s the way I’m raising my son!! The key thing is that many black men don’t have the EXAMPLES that I had…or that I am!! When blame needs to be assigned…I can assign it from a position of KNOWLEDGE…not of ENVY!!

willie lynch

October 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

Seriously, all of this amendment talk sort of reminds me of people who can spout scripture at the drop of a hat. Once they pick up their hat they stagger out to the next pub to see who they can impress.

You see I find it easy to not throw cigarette butts out my car window (because I don’t smoke). I don’t park in handicap spaces because “I’m only going to be a few seconds”. I flush a toilet in public because if I use it I should. When changing lanes while driving I use my indicator. When walking in public I try not to walk into people because we are sharing the walkway. When someone extends a courtesy I say Thank you.

These are some of the small things many of us might try to effect before we start talking about changing the Constitution. Learning how to be CIVILized is the first step in governing.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

October 25th, 2010
1:56 pm

AmVet, agreed, which brings me back to my original rant; if habeus corpus can be sellectively applied, or denied; what is the value of any ‘right’? to answer WAR’s “if a tree falls?” question, of course a falling tree makes noise, but if a person is imprisoned he won’t hear it (or, if the tree falls on top of a person already in the forest); who cares?

Tundra Dude

October 25th, 2010
2:00 pm

willie lynch@12:35, wrote, in part:

So they claim to be a grassroots movement, well I cut my grass and keep it well managed. The Tea’ers will find themselves under the shears soon enough.

Actually, the Tea Party was a creation of Americans for Prosperity, the third-largest recipient of Koch foundation largesse. AFP is a front group for mass-producing front groups. Sort of like McDonalds drive-thru. (would you like posters with that order?)

AmVet

October 25th, 2010
2:05 pm

BushCorp 1.0 and 2.0 are both travesties.

And since the Hero of the Texas ANG got us disgracefully added to the list of countries that torture – for the first time in our history – he should be waterboarded. And then detained indefinitely

BHO, who has ostensibly renounced tortured sanctioned from the highest levels of government, would get off with being detained in perpetuity with no charges ever presented against him, nor access to counsel…

willie lynch

October 25th, 2010
2:06 pm

Tundra,

I’m aware. Only in their minds are they the product of some groundswell.

Scout

October 25th, 2010
2:08 pm

It is 7 days, 5 hours, 52 minutes !!

AmVet

October 25th, 2010
2:18 pm

Tundra, though I have seen numerous references to Koch, but until now I did not read up on their background, the players, their positions and the influence they wield.

So they are the reason the Tea Party is derided as Astro-turfed and not a real grass roots movement? I see.

All corporate enabled and funded, of course.

All working against American working class families, against we the people’s sovereignty and for the plutocracy.

Welcome to the United States of America. A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange.

Mike K.

October 25th, 2010
2:51 pm

“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?”

I’m a little tired of this game that, if the Tea Party doesn’t protest every liberty-related issue under the sun that, somehow, the movement is delegitimate. It sounds like this guy was treated very badly, and he should be able to sue the government (though I’m not sure I agree that he should be able to sue a former attorney general).

However, while I oppose these sort of unwarranted detentions, they’re a relatively minor problem in this country compared with government spending. Only a very small number of US citizens have been held in these sorts of conditions and, while the fact that it happens at all is abhorrent, the government’s economic tyranny is a far more pervasive, and dangerous, problem.

A Lumpkin Resident

October 25th, 2010
2:52 pm

Being the good Republican guppies they are, they swallowed hook, line and sinker that quasi-fascistic tripe about the war on Terror.

And they are so craven, duplicitous and capricious that they won’t even salute BHO for doing exactly what they wanted – surging into Afghanistan and keeping all of King George’s crackdowns on personal liberties, freedoms and privacy in place, untouched.

Man up, AmVet. Don’t blame something on the Tea Party, who currently HAS NO POWER, when the Democrats… WITH COMPLETE POWER… wouldn’t do jacksh** about those crackdowns. King George may have instituted them, but your precious Democratic party took possession and now owns them. The Tea party had nothing whatsoever to do with them, but it is mighty convenient to lump them with one party and lay blame… even before one of their candidates has won an election. If you want to lay blame, go look in the mirror at the person who elected the Democratic schmucks that were too busy further eroding our liberties to halt the erosion introduced from the previous administration.

Tired of the liberal crap.

October 25th, 2010
3:07 pm

General Patton said it right when he said that future wars will be fought by soliders and lost but the politicans. When did this country change from protecting our citizens and protecting all of those that wants to do harm to us. Where did our people go wrong. most liberal people had rather protect a rabbid madd dog than help the person the dog attacked.
As for the leaks of files about the deaths in Iraq. What would you say if the numbers were of our people on our soil. the world would not give a rat turn about that. Get the media out of the battles and let the men and women do the jobs we pay them for. let them do what ever it takes to win the war.If you liberals want to baby set the enemy, we will take up a collecting to buy you a ticket. one way,
The tea party was not even started when the muslum man was held, poor thing, how many lives did we save while he was locked up? Wish the goverment had done a better job on 9-10- we would not have to wory about 9-11.

AmVet

October 25th, 2010
3:11 pm

Lumpkin, nice rant.

One teensy weensy problem with your baseless assumption/assertion.

I voted AGAINST BHO exactly for the reason I stated.

I predicted he was going to be another George of the Bungle. And that the Democrats would continue demonstrating that they are so spineless and bereft of moral courage they won’t even attempt to stand up to these quasi-fascists in the right-wing.

Need evidence?

Pelosi/Reid/Clinton/Obama et all took impeachment completely off of the table in 2006.

Why? Political expediency. Nothing else.

This in spite of the fact that GWB was serially impeachable for violating US laws and the US Constitution in FIVE DIFFERENT areas.

And if you have a huge problem with that take it up with the American Bar Association. Yep, that ABA that is chock full of Republican lawyers who sent three different papers to the White House detailing their concerns with his serial disregard for US law.

The difference between us is that I realize both parties are complicit in these fear-mongered and needless destructions of American liberties and I give the complicit Democrats no quarter.

While you on the other hand, give the GOP/TPers a completely free pass for implementing and/or advocating those reprehensible policies and actions.

Again. to Ms. Tucker’s salient point.

Where is the outrage from either Republicans or TPers on this matter?

We all know. It does not exist…

Ivan

October 25th, 2010
3:28 pm

AmVet,

Don’t fall into the trap. Tucker’s point has no point. It’s like questioning why the water is still wet when we’ve had freezers for so long, and actually think you’re proving something.

Tired of the liberal crap.

October 25th, 2010
3:30 pm

I admit I don’t know how to read, but I am good at remembering and reciting U.S. history. The constitution has a lot of words, and I get confused easily. But I think if the people in washington would follow the constitution we would not have so much taxes.

willie lynch

October 25th, 2010
3:32 pm

AmVet,

Well put.

Tired of the liberal crap.

October 25th, 2010
3:33 pm

Why do all the demorats blame the tea party on everything they disagree with? The left have all of the tv media on their side, Opra, Leno, The View, all the reality shows show liberal views and knock the republicans every chance they get. Nobody ever call them on it, Youlet one republican say one line against them and it make world news. How much longer are they going to down President Bush. He was our president for 8 years, They still call Clinton President, why do President Bush not desirve the same. What do you call the demorat groups that want to stand up for their rights, (The new black panthers, NAACP, on and on and on. They never do anything wrong, They were there when we were protecting our country from the likes of the muslam that was held, why did they not burn the towns down like they did during the rodeny king times?

David Granger

October 25th, 2010
3:47 pm

You’re absolutely right, Cynthia. That damn “Patriot Act” is a damn disgrace, and anyone who voted for it should hang their heads in shame.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats want to ignore certain parts of the Constitution, and…sadly enough…we’ve had federal justices who have allowed them to do so. Conservatives and liberals are both lying hypocrites, just on opposite ends of the see-saw.

Since the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have caused such controversy, we should have strictly followed the Geneva Convention: Because they were captured in active conflict on the battlefield while NOT wearing the uniform of a recognized nation, they should have been considered spies, stood up against a wall, and shot.

Paddy O

October 25th, 2010
4:03 pm

hdb – how many black men sell drugs, fornicate wantonly and steal? It is a slow process, abetted by self-induced poverty. Obama is prime example of what a black men who values education can accomplish. Institutional racism is over, thank g-d and MLK.

Paddy O

October 25th, 2010
4:05 pm

AmVet – how has the leading liberal terminated all those programs that you hate from the Bush admin – you know, the guy actually in charge?

Paddy O

October 25th, 2010
4:06 pm

AmVet – you are close, we are a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. Funny how much oil that company processes.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 25th, 2010
5:33 pm

Do tea partiers care about the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments?
7:22 am October 25, 2010, by ctucker
———————–

Ms. Tucker, why don’t you try to interest your Democrat party in this issue? Maybe if they take the lead, others will follow.

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 25th, 2010
6:02 pm

Yes, both Republicans and Democrats are “complicit” in passing the Patriot Act and all manner of things that happened in the aftermath of 9/11. I think we should give all the politicians a bit of the benefit of the doubt…I actually believe that the vast majority were acting in good faith to do what they felt was necessary at the time.

What I will not forgive or forget is how Democrats quickly abandoned a mostly principled course of action in favor of seeking partisan advantage. Party first, country second, maybe third.