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The reviews for the unconstitutional, citizenship-stripping “anti-terror” legislation Joe Lieberman is introducing today are in, and predictable.
[W]hat Lieberman is attempting to do is to pave the way for terrorists with American citizenship to be thrown into military tribunals once they are captured. And it would give the State Department the power to make that determination.
“It sounds like a draconian solution,” said John Bellinger a legal adviser to the United States Secretary of State during the Bush administration. “I assume the Senate has thought through the constitutional issues but I would want to see what the standards are for stripping someone of their citizenship and what opportunities they would have for notice and to challenge the decision… It certainly seems like a far-reaching step.”
As Bellinger notes, the issue of revoking citizenship has been litigated to the highest levels of the justice system already. And as it stands now, the standard is set fairly high.
It’s doubtful that the Senator has thought through the constitutional issues because the Senator neither cares about the constitutional issues nor is a competent enough legislator to realize that what he is proposing won’t work. Here’s Greg Sargent, explaining what Lieberman intends with this legislation:
Lieberman’s office has clarified to me how the law would work: It would empower the State Department to conclude — on its own — that Americans are conspiring with terror groups and should be stripped of their citizenship.
Lieberman’s law would amend an earlier statute that details other things that can cost you citizenship [. . .] In those cases the State Department decides whether your disloyalty merits loss of citizen status. Lieberman’s law would add involvement with a foreign terror organization — as opposed to a foreign state — to this list.
And here is BTD on why that is impracticable:
Why is this pointless? Because unless Lieberman is planning on repealing the part of the law that provides due process prior to revocation of citizenship, then all Lieberman has done is create a new federal proceeding where suspected terrorists can “propagandize.” As noted earlier, the only way for Lieberman to get terror trials out of federal courts is to repeal federal law criminalizing terrorism. Will Lieberman propose that?
No, he won’t propose that. His primary concern is to continue to embarrass a Democratic president by joining the likes of Lindsey Graham and the Cheney’s in politicizing the prosecution of terror cases. Eviscerating the due process guarantees of the Constitution is a side benefit for him.