Just when you thought Sarah Palin couldn’t say anything more foolish than she has, she does. Just when you thought Sarah Palin couldn’t show herself to be more ignorant of the U.S. Constitution, she does. It is a fundamental notion inherent in our system of justice that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In a recent Facebook post Sarah has been so bold as to suggest that a person who was an American citizen who leaves this country to join ISIS, al Qaeda, or any other terrorist organization does not immediately lose his citizenship,” but should. Palin presumes in that statement that a person who has such evil motives would somehow magically announce to the world that they are now a terrorist who feels compelled to kill Americans. That’s the problem with terrorists. They are sneaky. They don’t always advertise who they are or what they intend to do in advance. Unlike Paul Revere who rang bells and shot warning shots, terrorists tend to be a little more secretive. Sometimes they have the nerve to cover their faces.
In essence Palin is assuming we know, or can simply identify by sight, those people who were American citizens, and are now terrorists. Her brilliant idea is to take away their citizenship. The reality is that if we establish that a person is a terrorist, they are guilty of treason. The penalty for treason is potentially death. The fact that the person retains their American citizenship establishes them as subject to American laws, so a claim of treason would be easier to prove. The relevant statute is:
“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
The legal complications of trying a foreign citizen under U.S. law are many. It is much easier if the alleged terrorist is an American citizen, and there is not an issue about the applicable law,or whether the United States is entitled to execute someone.
Palin uses the Boston bomber as an example of a person who should lose his U.S. citizenship.
Even Sarah Palin should be able to understand just how stupid that assertion is. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is on trial for his life. The only question is not whether Tsarnaev will be able to vote again. The question is life in prison or death. If she wants to be tough on terrorists, she should assert that the law should be changed to require the death penalty if guilt is established.
Why would Sarah assert such a foolish thing? The answer is rather obvious. Her buddy, Sen. Ted Cruz, previously pushed for a measure that would have made joining foreign terrorist groups like ISIS tantamount to renouncing one’s U.S. citizenship. That effort was soundly defeated in the Senate. Some critics of the bill pointed out, citizenship for people born or naturalized in the United States is a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “letting the federal government deprive Americans of their nationality is something that should give pause to anyone acquainted with the Constitution or history.”
Once again we see an example of the stupidity of Palin’s assertion of the need to protect the US Constitutional rights of American citizens. In her mind, only the people that share her political philosophy should have rights under the constitution.
The irony is that even under Islamic law people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence While it would be great to be able to KNOW who is or is not a terrorist, the reality is that we don’t know until a jury determines if someone is a terrorist. It is our constitution that prevents people like Sarah Palin from independently deciding that someone is a terrorist. If we left it up to Sarah to decide who is a terrorist, she would have taken away the President’s citizenship long ago.