Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bang on, Supreme Court!

A week ago, the Obama Administration and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham were in negotiations to "modify" (read: weaken) the Miranda Law. Why? Of course it was because of teh turrists and turrism and our new found principles that to protect our rights, we must weaken, remove, and ignore our rights.

It was one of the residual pants shitting maneuvers left from the Times Square bomber. And none to soon. Once it was revealed that the authorities read him his rights, everyone went nuts. "How dare they read a terrorist his rights!" That he talked, was cooperative, and gave us useful intelligence and answers afterward is ignored. By refusing to immediately waterboard him, declare him an enemy combatant, and start in with the Jack Bauer shit, it didn't make us feel manly as a country. This cannot stand! So we must step in and take manly Miranda weakening measures.

About that. Seems the Supreme Court decided to get there and weaken it first.
A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the court said that suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.
"Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police," Kennedy said. "Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his 'right to cut off questioning.' Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's newest member, wrote a strongly worded dissent for the court's liberals, saying the majority's decision "turns Miranda upside down."

"Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent - which counterintuitively, requires them to speak," she said. "At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded."
Will everyone act surprised when I tell them that this was a 5-4 decision? It was a 5-4 decision! And cue shocked faces.... nicely done, dear readers.

That's right, the Supreme Court ruled that in order to have an inherent right, you must invoke it. I think that's the way most inherent rights works. I mean if something is inherent that means you have to explicitly state it aloud or it doesn't apply. That's what inherent means, right?

I mean that's how we work free speech and freedom of the press. Unless we start each statement or news story with "I am invoking my rights to free speech from now until the end of this statement/story" we are liable to be thrown in jail for whatever we say/write. This decision just codifies that for legal proceedings and the Miranda Law.

So, bang up job, Supremes. With you and our elected betters at work, we're well on our way to making it so that the only rights we have are the ones we're told we're allowed to have in the designated areas and times we're allowed to have those rights in. I'm sure this'll be the death blow to Al Qaeda and all who would do us harm.

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