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Why do they do it? Because they can. YES THEY CAN.

Damon's picture

It appears the Obama administration is looking to rollback the rights of defendants. Why? Well, basically, because they can:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to overrule longstanding law that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant’s lawyer is present, another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights.


The Justice Department, in a brief signed by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, said the 1986 decision “serves no real purpose” and offers only “meager benefits.” The government said defendants who don’t wish to talk to police don’t have to and that officers must respect that decision. But it said there is no reason a defendant who wants to should not be able to respond to officers’ questions.

At the same time, the administration acknowledges that the decision “only occasionally prevents federal prosecutors from obtaining appropriate convictions.”

For me, the last line is key. If it ain't really broke, why the rush to fix it? In this nation, where the playing field on which law enforcement and citizens play is anything but even, and in a nation in which we've already far too many citizens imprisoned as it is, and in a nation with a disturbing record of executing innocent citizens (and executing anyone, at all, but I digress) the sympathies of this proud and unabashed liberal will have no other choice but to fall on the side of the less powerful and powerless, lest I risk losing my scruples, altogether.

On the surface, to someone not paying much attention, that someone should be legally able to talk without a lawyer sounds almost down-right sensible. It's why critical thinkers don't end their search at the surface of anything.

And, here's why:

The administration’s position assumes a level playing field, with equally savvy police and criminal suspects, lawyers on the other side of the case said. But the protection offered by the court in Stevens’ 1986 opinion is especially important for vulnerable defendants, including the mentally and developmentally disabled, addicts, juveniles and the poor, the lawyers said.

It should probably make a liberal feel uncomfortable that he finds himself in the same company as Justice Alito's, too, no?

Justice Samuel Alito first raised the prospect of overruling the decision at arguments in January over the rights of Jesse Montejo, the Louisiana death row inmate.

Someone needs to explain to me this most brilliant 11-dimensional chess move, evah, and why this push isn't exactly something the Bush administration wouldn't have loved to have done. Because, I'm not seeing even the slightest hint of 'secret progressiveness' in this move.

Upon the revelation of this news, you know a smiling Dick Cheney, rifle in hand, and an unknowing lawyer at his side, is getting his wings...

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