Terrorism Law Lowers Bar on Justice
by David Rittgers and Julian Sanchez
Are the rights of U.S. citizens an intolerable obstacle to fighting terrorism?
The suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing, Faisal Shahzad, is a citizen. But that didn’t stop law enforcement from tracking him down within days of his botched attack. It didn’t prevent them from securing his confession and continuing cooperation. And there’s no reason to think it will keep him from being convicted and punished for his crimes.
Despite this, the failed attack has inspired Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to propose the Terrorist Expatriation Act, a bill that would strip citizenship from Americans suspected of providing “material support” to terror groups.
This bill is unnecessary.
Federal law already provides a means for expatriating citizens who have taken up arms against the United States. But to the extent the law would have any real effect, it is disturbingly cavalier about the rights of citizens.