Posted at http://theamericanconservatives.org:
One extreme is calling for limiting Miranda rights for terrorist suspects. The other claims Miranda rights should apply to anyone who runs afoul of our laws; whether in this country or on a foreign battlefield. Oddly enough, in yet another impressive display of White House Amateur Hour, the Obama administration has occupied both sides of the debate. As of the time of this publication, they plan to limit Miranda rights in the case of terrorism (check back next week to see if the flop will flip again).
All of which begs the question: what are Miranda rights, and what are the consequences of limiting or expanding them? For answers, we go to our go-to document; the US Constitution. Specifically, the 5th Amendment:
“No person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
This is one of the main purposes of the 5th: to keep the government from fabricating a confession via coercion, torture, or any other nefarious means. The specific policy of “Mirandizing” was brought about in the ’60s as a standardised way for law enforcement officers to advise people of their innate rights, and in so doing assure that subsequent confessions would pass muster in a court of law. “Miranda rights” aren’t really rights at all. The 5th Amendment outlines the rights, and the process of Mirandizing merely advises a person of their already existent rights so that any confession they make can be used without reservation in a US criminal court.
So, who ought to be Mirandized? If accused of a crime in the US, you are automatically protected by the US Constitution; hence, you are protected by the 5th Amendment provision against self-incrimination. Reading you your Miranda rights protects information gathered during custody that might be used as evidence against you. Mind, it is the information used for trial that is protected by Miranda, not the individual. Not reading someone their rights doesn’t make the rights go away, it merely removes credibility from testimonial evidence gathered during custody. That means a terrorist suspect could still be tried for their terrorist acts apart from any intelligence gathered during their incarceration, so long as that intelligence wasn’t used against them during their trial.
If they are on a foreign battlefield, they enjoy no such protection. The US Constitution does not apply beyond the borders of the United States.
Maybe President Obama and Attorney General Holder ought to spend more time dissecting their Constitution instead of dismantling it. That way, we wouldn’t have to deal with an administration bent on depriving people on US soil of their 5th Amendment rights, nor have to deal with an administration trying to extend those rights to foreign combatants.