Above: A chyron from the Tuesday broadcast of CNN’s show Legal View. CNN was teasing a segment about the idea, suggested by noted legal scholars Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham, that accused New York/New Jersey bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami should be denied the procedural protections that have been guaranteed to American citizens for the past 224 years by the Bill of Rights. It’s a pretty open-and-shut discussion given that Rahami is an American citizen who was arrested in America—but, hey, gotta hear both sides, right? The wording of the teaser:
Coming up next, he’s accused of shooting at the police officers and then planting bombs as well to try to kill American citizens. So does he deserve the protection of the U.S. Constitution? Some are suggesting that Ahmed Rahami be treated as an enemy combatant instead and denied due process. Is that legal?
Is not following the law illegal? Let’s discuss!
To CNN’s very limited credit, the person they brought on to address the question of whether a man arrested and held in secure custody in New Jersey should be treated like a foreign soldier being apprehended amid the chaos of an active battlefield was legal writer Jeffrey Toobin, who, not being a dope, answered “no.”
Well, certainly according to the Obama administration, he will not be seen that way. I mean I think that the important thing to remember about this whole situation is that our legal system has done a very effective job of processing terrorists through our criminal courts. Those cases have proceeded with dispatch. These people have been tried, sentenced, convicted.
The enemy combatants at Guantanamo are tied up in a hopeless legal maze that is completely unresolved at this point. And that has proven to be disastrous from both a legal, political and moral standpoint.