Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Human Rights: Altering Miranda Protections would be unconstitutional

Attorney General Eric Holder said this weekend that the Obama administration would seek a new law to loosen the requirement that terrorism suspects be informed of their constitutional rights during interrogation. Holder made the statements on network news shows Sunday morning. The proposed legislation would undermine the Miranda requirement that was ruled to be a constitutional right by the U.S. Supreme Court, said the American Civil Liberties Union.

Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said,

"President Obama has taken many important steps to restore respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, but his attorney general is now proposing that Congress chip away at the cherished Miranda protections. It's disappointing to hear Mr. Holder suggest that Americans should trade their freedoms for security. Congress should strongly reject this proposal and the underlying argument that the Constitution doesn't work. Gradually dismantling the Constitution will make us less free, but it will not make us more safe."

Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU said,

"Mr. Holder's request for a broad exception to the Miranda requirement for terrorism cases is not only discouraging, but also bewildering. For one thing, there is no evidence that the Miranda requirement has obstructed the government from obtaining information from suspected terrorists – Mr. Holder himself has said that the terrorism suspects detained over the last few months provided information to the FBI even after being informed of their right to remain silent. More fundamentally, legislation that significantly undermined Miranda would be unconstitutional; as Mr. Holder should know as well as anyone, the Miranda requirement is rooted in the Fifth Amendment."

Source: ACLU

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