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The terror trials


terrorcourt.gifThe hypocrisy is delicious.

The same conservatives who passionately promote the sacredness of the constitution--and appointing judges to the federal bench who would interpret it strictly--are now in favor of suspending it out of fear that our constitutional guarantees are nothing but Swiss cheese through which terrorist vermin might escape justice.

You can't have it both ways. Either it is the noblest document ever written, or its freedoms should only be applied to lesser crimes in which the outcome isn't so serious. It saddens me that its vocal supporters have so little faith in its effectiveness.

As for the argument that terrorists make war on America, and therefore have no right to be tried under our system of presuming innocence until proven guilty: I don't recall anybody saying that Timothy McVeigh should be denied a trial by jury. He made war on America the same as these guys--just ask the loved ones of those unlucky enough to be in the Murrah Federal Building that day.

By the way, he was convicted and executed under our supposedly flawed system that bends over backwards to give the accused the benefit of the doubt...so chill. This is about us and who we are as a nation, not about them. If we try them fairly and openly for all the world to see, then the terrorists have lost.

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What one-sided BS! Lowe is a narrow minded idiot who needs a half a page to justify/explain his slanted comics. Oh, so now we are going to allow eveyone the rights of a U.S. citizen? Something I believe McVeigh to be which, shockingly enough, old Chan boy somehow forgets to mention... and of course it would be ridiculous to mention all of the other reasons it's ludicris to have a citizen's trial in NY (NY??, national security, local security, enemy propoganda, giving terrorists a platform, etc.) I'm f-ing sick and tired of the SUN SENTINEL promoting this one-sided political agenda that relentlessly attacks anyone right of center. It just frustrates and angers myself and so many people. What a sham. good thing no one pays for this garbage anymore


Hang on ONE minute.

The issue here is not whether the people accused of these acts are US citizens or not...the whole point of the venue of a trial is that it's supposed to be WHERE the crime was committed. And it doesn't have anything to do with what country you're a citizen of.

Face it, if an American was in a foreign country and he or she violated THEIR laws, he or she would be tried there--under those same laws. (Remember the kid in Singapore back in '93 or so?)

Oh, and one last thing: you execute these guys and they've WON. That's what they want. You've created martyrs for the cause. Which will lead to more of the same. Throw them in maximum security and throw away the key, if you feel that'll help.


Constitutional Rights? Last I checked, these people are NOT citizens of this country. The Constitution was written for citizens of this country, not for those who are enemies of this country picked up on a battle field.


read the U.S. Constitution - 5th Amendment - "no PERSON shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
6th Amendment - "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury..."

There are parts of the Constitution that specify "citizen." The right to trial is not one of them. The right to trial applies to all PERSONS.


If you believe in this country and the constitution than you should have faith that we can address people and groups that threaten us using the framework that is set up in the constitution. The idea that trying terrorists in the courts as opposed to shipping them off to secret camps poses a threat to our country expresses a shocking lack of faith in the rule of law and the values that this country was founded on.


The left wants to act like 9/11 was a crime.

Yeah, we remember Singapore...spray painting graffit is a crime...9/11 is a terrorist act. Only a lobotomy would cause a person to compare the two.

NEVER has an enemy combatant been tried in a court of law...THERE IS NO PRECEDENT...NONE! The Constitution was written FOR THE PEOPLE.

The preamble says it all...“We the People OF THE UNITED STATES, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Articles I and II are clear in limiting eligibility, at a minimum, to citizens of the United States in terms of who is eligible to serve as President.

Addressing the role of States, Article IV, Section 2 states that

“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States”.
Attempting to ensure that because certain rights may not have been enumerated in the Bill of Rights and should still be protected, the 9th Amendment states

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by THE PEOPLE“ – another direct reference to the “people”.

And the most important reference is in the 14th Amendment’s 1st paragraph which states,

“All persons BORN OR NATURALIZED IN THE UNITED STATES, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, ARE CITIZENS of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws“ (emphasis added).

Lindsey Graham nailed our inept AG to the wall yesterday w/ the question of should osama bin laden be mirandized...our brilliant AG couldnt even answer that.

He looked like Obama w/ a broken teleprompter.


Chan, how is it that your opinion is ALWAYS the total opposite of mine. Timothy McVeigh was a US citizen. Where does it say in the Constitution that the right to a fair trial applies to foreign nationals who make war on the US? Oh...and please, let's stop using the term "war"...as you know our President does not approve of this word nor the word terrorism.

The mastermind behind the 9/11 "man made disaster, Khalid Sheik Mohamed, has confessed fully to his crime. President Obama and Attorney General Holder both recently remarked that KSM would be found guilty and be put to death regardless of whether he is tried in a military tribunal or a civil courtroom. You say he deserves the same rights as we American's enjoy. OK...then when KSM and his lawyer use the statements by our Harvard trained President and highest law enforcement official in our country as legal grounds to avoid the death penalty I guess you'll be OK with that?


Sebastian (and others): Obviously you don't know the first thing about statutory construction and analysis. The founders and the "amenders" could choose certain words to describe the rights of large and small groups. Sometimes they were more specific and chose to designate certain rights as pertaining specifically to "citizens." Other times to the more general "persons" or "people."

If a specific term isn't used, the general prevails. If we want to protect and promote our system of laws, we should extend its protections too.

Your attitudes are, unfortunately, un-American, as I understand them. Is that what you really wanted to say?


Chan you hit it right on the head. May I add that many of shouting about the decision from the DOJ are the same people who said said nothing about the Ashcroft/Gonzales decisions.


Allow me to educate you. The U.S. constitution does -not- apply to citizens of foreign nations, or those who are in the U.S. illegally.


To Ed Smith, Palm Springs, CA:

Actually, Mr. Smith, you're
dead wrong.

The rights of both citizens and non-citizens are protected by the US Constitution. However, there are some rights specifically reserved for citizens, such as the right to a Federal job and to vote.

In actuality, the Constitution doesn't apply to "citizens," nor does it even apply to "people." It applies to the government. It tells the government what it can and can't do (the body tells the government what it can do, and the Bill of Rights tells it what it can't do).

Immigration rules are administrative ones, and are mandated by Congress, not the courts.


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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