Liz Cheney's indifference for the accused has no place in American justice
Recently Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, created a new storm in the already messy world of American politics, and showed how dirty Republican politics has become.
Last month, the New York Times reported that Liz Cheney lashed out against Department of Justice lawyers who defended suspected terrorists.
Seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, Liz Cheney is a lawyer and former state department official. She currently runs the advocacy group Keep America Safe.
According to their mission statement, Keep America Safe (KAS) wishes to inform "concerned Americans about critical national security issues." The use of the word "concerned" makes the assumption that many of us are not concerned about the well being of this country.
Cheney slammed the lawyers through a video released by KAS on March 1. The 48-second YouTube clip put Attorney General Eric Holder's judgment on the line regarding Justice Department lawyers who previously defended suspected terrorists. The video questioned the loyalty of the lawyers as well as President Obama and Eric Holder.
Furthermore, the video questioned why Holder didn't release the name of seven of the nine lawyers who had defended suspected terrorists. The video refers to the lawyers as the "Al-Qaeda Seven," a slam that, according to the Times, crossed lines even for some conservatives.
According to the Huffington Post, Senator Lindsey Graham, former defense attorney and a Republican from South Carolina, condemned the ad.
"I've been a military lawyer for almost 30 years, I represented people as a defense attorney in the military that were charged with some pretty horrific acts, and I gave them my all," Graham said.
"This system of justice that we're so proud of in America requires the unpopular to have an advocate and every time a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job, that defense lawyer has made us all safer."
The Federalist Society, a 25-year-old group advocating conservative and libertarian policies, has criticized Cheney's comments, stating that every individual has the right to a lawyer.
Because attorneys defend suspected terrorists, they push prosecutors to provide the necessary evidence to prove guilt. By so doing, they protect all of our rights and ensure people are not thrown in jail by flimsy evidence. One person's violated rights, is a violation against us all.
Terrorists have killed people and spread terror, just like criminals do. They deserve legal representation.
The Bill of Rights is very clear on the matter. According to the Sixth Amendment, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to...the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."
A key word to notice in the clause is "all." Not some, not U.S. citizens only, but rather, all. People tried within the boundaries of the United States have the right to a lawyer. Period.
Every time I listen to Republicans, I get caught up with their patriotic rhetoric, but after some thinking, I am always reminded of author Samuel Johnson's famous quote, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Politics is a strange game of perception. Polls, statements and media appearances all get taken out of context in the game of getting things done. Overall, I would have to say some, like Liz Cheney, have lost touch with reality.
Some Republicans chose to ignore the word "all" in the Sixth Amendment. They believe that right should be only for American criminals. But as stated in the Bill of Rights, "all" deserve counsel.
Lawyers have made America safe by making the government work hard to prosecute suspected terrorists at Gitmo. Keep America Safe wants to strengthen America's national security and these lawyers are doing it for them, but KAS sees them as terrorists.
This is why so many Republicans have become unhinged from reality. They pick and choose what works for them and twist those ideas for their own purposes. Democrats do this as well, but Republicans have a sketchy track record.
Members like Liz Cheney muck up American politics to a new level. If her father were to be accused of lying to the American public to sell a war and ordering people to be tortured, he would get the best government-appointed lawyers for the case. That is the beauty of American jurisprudence; even those considered deplorable are kept safe from mob justice.
If only Liz Cheney and friends shared these values. Then they too could understand the core tenets of our Constitution.