MSNBC's Hayes Frets Boston Bomber May Not Get Due Process Rights

On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes reacted negatively to Senator Susan Collins because the Maine Republican recently recommended that, if any non-citizens are involved in the Boston bombing, they should not be afforded Miranda rights and should be handed to a military tribunal, as the MSNBC host asserted that he was "angered and disappointed" by her comments which he later called a "disgrace."

His reaction to Collins came as he took a moment to give attention to a report by the Constitution Project which criticized the treatment of terror suspects by the Bush administration as "torture." After complaining about various media personalities calling for the use of torture after the 9/11 attacks, he tied in the Boston bombing:

And that is why, in the aftermath of an event like Boston, we all, as citizens, have a duty to fight our darkest impulses in ourselves, in our fellow countrymen and women, to make clear to our elected officials and leaders that we desire security and justice and also the application of the rule of law, that there is no reason that our remarkably capable law enforcement officials and courts can't handle apprehending, trying and convicting the perpetrator or perpetrators of this slaughter.

He brought up Senator Collins as he continued:

And it was why I was so angered and disappointed when I saw Slate's great reporter, Dave Weigul, report that Maine Senator Susan Collins said this to a gaggle of reporters today.

He then read some of Collins's words:

The question is: What do we do once we do capture the individual? How's he treated? If he's an American, obviously, then the constitutional protections pertain. If he is a foreign national, in my view, then he should be held by a military tribunal and he should not be read his Miranda rights as [the Christmas Day Bomber] was.

Hayes found the Senator's thoughts to be a "disgrace" as he continued:

Yes, that's Susan Collins, hailed as one of the lone remaining Republican moderates in the Senate, a voice of reason and bipartisan wisdom, blithely telling reporters that if the person apprehended happens to be a foreign national, then due process doesn't apply.

What a disgrace. And what an insult to the American system of law and justice and the Constitution and those who want to uphold it. And what ignorance. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the right to due process in federal proceedings, is quite clear about who it applies to.

He then read from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and recommended that Collins read the Constitution Project's report as a "timely reminder of how not to react to mayhem."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, April 16, All In show on MSNBC:
 

We look back at the torture regime and rightly bemoan the lack of accountability for those who oversaw this obscenity, from George W. Bush to Dick Cheney, to David Addington and John Yu.

But the uncomfortable truth is that, in the wake of the horrific spectacle of 9/11, the entire culture and society shifted in a decidedly dark direction. When Dick Cheney said famously and ominously we would have to work the dark side, he was giving official voice to an impulse that was already being articulated in our newspapers and on our cable news channels.

I remember that the second tower had hardly fallen when I started reading commentators from the right, center, and even self-proclaimed liberals openly contemplating or simply outright advocating for torture, the suspension of due process, and all sorts of harsh, draconian measures at odds with our laws and traditions.

Ultimately, the people responsible for the torture regime so exhaustively described in the Constitution Project report are the government officials who made the key decisions. But the fertile soil into which the seeds of torture were planted was provided by the commentators and pundits and law professors who first made torture seem acceptable in the minds of the public in the wake of 9/11.

And that is why, in the aftermath of an event like Boston, we all, as citizens, have a duty to fight our darkest impulses in ourselves, in our fellow countrymen and women, to make clear to our elected officials and leaders that we desire security and justice and also the application of the rule of law, that there is no reason that our remarkably capable law enforcement officials and courts can't handle apprehending, trying and convicting the perpetrator or perpetrators of this slaughter.

And it was why I was so angered and disappointed when I saw Slate's great reporter, Dave Weigul, report that Maine Senator Susan Collins said this to a gaggle of reporters today. Quote:

The question is: What do we do once we do capture the individual? How's he treated? If he's an American, obviously, then the constitutional protections pertain. If he is a foreign national, in my view, then he should be held by a military tribunal and he should not be read his Miranda rights as [the Christmas Day Bomber] was.

Yes, that's Susan Collins, hailed as one of the lone remaining Republican moderates in the Senate, a voice of reason and bipartisan wisdom, blithely telling reporters that if the person apprehended happens to be a foreign national, then due process doesn't apply.

What a disgrace. And what an insult to the American system of law and justice and the Constitution and those who want to uphold it. And what ignorance. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the right to due process in federal proceedings, is quite clear about who it applies to.

(...)

If a French national is arrested in a bar fight, he gets access to a lawyer, is arraigned and charged, and eventually tried. We don't have some special carve out in the law for foreigners. Our laws are our laws. And yet, 12 years after the horrors of 9/11 and the shameful abomination of torture we committed when we created a new special carved out area of law, we have a Republican rushing to repeat the same conceptual and legal mistakes, to place the perpetrators outside of our normal legal system.

Susan Collins should take the time to read the Constitution Project's report. It is a useful, timely reminder of how not to react to mayhem. We'll be right back.