Home > News and Commentary > Far Right Roberts Court Further Erodes Citizen Rights.

Far Right Roberts Court Further Erodes Citizen Rights.

Following up the horrible ruling that established corporations as persons and their money as free speech further cementing the power of the corporate state in the Citizens United v FEC case, the Roberts court further weakened the rights of living breathing citizens in their relationship to state power in a 5 to 4 paradoxial court ruling. In the ruling, the citizen must talk to the police declaring his or her right to remain silent instead of being informed of their right to remain silent by the police. The Baltimore Sun editorializing in a piece titled, “Eroding Miranda“, explained

The Supreme Court this week took another step back from its 1969 Miranda ruling, which requires police to notify criminal suspects of their right to remain silent when questioned. In a bizarre opinion by the court’s conservative majority, the justices ruled 5-4 that unless a suspect explicitly invokes his right not to talk — that is, unless he talks to the police — he’s not entitled to remain silent, and any statement he makes can be used against him in court.

This paradoxical interpretation of the law, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out in her first major dissent since joining the court, “turns Miranda upside down” and “bodes poorly for the fundamental principles that Miranda protects.” In effect, it says to a suspect: You have the right to remain silent, but if you want to use it you’d better start talking.

The case involved a Michigan man, Van Chester Thompkins, whom police suspected of shooting another man to death outside a mall in 2000. When Mr. Thompkins was arrested a year later, police read him his Miranda rights, but he refused to sign a form acknowledging he understood them. He then remained silent through three hours of questioning until he was asked by an officer whether he thought God would forgive him “for shooting that boy down.”

This should please the Obama DOJ since it will take the pressure off of creating or using law to circumvent the rule of law as it tries to hold on to unconstitutional power of executive branch practices given it by the Bush Administration and a complicit Congress. In a piece titled, “Eric Holder: Miranda Rights Should Be Modified For Terrorism Suspects” by Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post,

Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time today on ABC’s “This Week” that the Obama administration is open to modifying Miranda protections to deal with the “threats that we now face.”

“The [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective,” Holder told host Jake Tapper. “I think we also want to look and determine whether we have the necessary flexibility — whether we have a system that deals with situations that agents now confront. … We’re now dealing with international terrorism. … I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]. And that’s one of the things that I think we’re going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face.”

He is off the hook now. The Roberts Court gave him his wish.

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