One of the central principles of the U.S. Constitution is that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Our constitution puts numerous legal protections in place to guard against an over zealous police force. Should we abandon those legal protections, and civil liberties, if law enforcement believes a suspect might provide even a kernel of useful intelligence capable of protecting U.S. citizens? Some Republicans in Congress say absolutely. Senator John McCain feels Mr. Faisal Shahzad (the man who admitted to planting the bomb in Times Square) should not be given his Miranda rights. Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) has gone further, writing a bill that would lead to the revocation of Mr. Shahzad’s American citizenship. And still others are calling for the use of a military tribunal as a way to circumvent the U.S. justice system. Are the fundamental principles of our constitution worth fighting for in the war on terror, or has this omnipresent threat proved them to be arcane?
David Cole, professor of Constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-11th District of Texas; Deputy Republican