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Terrorist Trials and Senate Races

The controversy over whether to try terrorists in military tribunals or civilian courts popped up in two news stories on Senate races.

It comes as no surprise that conservative Marco Rubio, running for Senate from Florida, denounced the switch to civilian trials in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee conference, as reported by Philip Rucker in the WaPo.

More surprising is the position taken by Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal, likely Democratic candidate to succeed Christopher Dodd. John Fund notes in the WSJ,

Two weeks ago, Mr. Blumenthal took strong issue with the Obama Justice Department's decision to hold civilian trials for terrorists in Manhattan. "My position is very different from the administration's," he said, adding that he favored military tribunals rather than civilian courts to try both the 9/11 conspirators and the Christmas Day bomber captured trying to blow up an airliner last December.


Military commissions and civilian trials don't have to be mutually exclusive. They're both tools in the war on terror. Miranda, on the other hand, seems a bit out of place. Miranda is a prophylactic rule, not required by the Constitution. Why do terrorists get the benefit of it?

On reflection, it may not be surprising that Mr. Blumenthal prefers military tribunals. Blumenthal is the state Attorney General, and thus literally follows in the footsteps of the soon-to-be senior Senator from Connectuicut, Joe Lieberman, who also was the state AG. Senator Lieberman is justly known for his sober and thoughtful views on the terrorist threat.

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