Sen. John McCain Needs a Constitutional Refresher

John McCain wants to appear tough on terror. Instead, he just looks like he’s never read the Constitution.

Over at The Hill today, Michael O’Brien notes that McCain believes  it would have been a “serious error” to read Miranda rights to Faisal Shahzad, the suspected Times Square car bomber.

And while the years since 9/11 have taught us that all’s fair in love and the War on Terror, there’s one big problem here: Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen. 

Now, I’m no Constitutional scholar, but the last time I checked the 14th Amendment, it stated:

Section 1. 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 mine)

Due process of law, as decided in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) means that a suspect taken into custody is to be informed of his 5th and 6th Amendment rights prior to questioning. And while Miranda rights are customarily extended (as I understand it) to anyone detained in the U.S. – citizen or not – there have been exceptions made for non-citizens during times of war. But to the best of my knowledge, not for citizens. Not ever. 

This isn’t rocket science. As I’ve noted, I’m for strong immigration laws , but whatever crime Shahzad has committed, the man has gone through the process to become a U.S. citizen, and should therefore receive all the privileges and protections thereof. End of story.


Steve Skojec serves as the Director of Community Relations for a professional association. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned a BA in Communications and Theology. His passions include writing, photography, social media, and an avid appreciation of science fiction. Steve lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Jamie and their five children.

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