Civil Liberties

Revoke Citizenship, Then Gitmoize: The Latest Chapter In The Assault on American Civil Liberties

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As if last month's National Defense Authorization Act that explicitly gave the president authority to indefinitely Gitmoize "enemy combatants" was not bad enough, there is more legislative mischief brewing on Capitol Hill. The NDAA, as Gene Healy and Jacob Sullum pointed out, left it up to the courts to decide whether American citizens would actually fall under its purview.

But a new bill—sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA)— called the Enemy Expatriation Act might render that issue moot. There are rumblings on the blogosphere that as the bill currently stands, the government might be able to strip Americans of their citizenship if the State Department certifies that they are either engaged in or support hostilities against the United States. There would be no need to take them before a court of law, present evidence and get a conviction.

And once someone loses their citizenship, they would become fair game for indefinite detention. Pretty ingenious for government work!

Dent, who has been pushing similar legislation since last summer, argues that all he wants to do is update current law to make it appropriate for the war on terror. American citizens who join a foreign army automatically relinquish their citizenship, he notes. He wants the same thing to happen to anyone who joins or supports terrorist groups. All the bill would do is add "engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States" to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.

The big difference of course is that everyone knows what the definition of army is. But  only the executive branch knows what a terrorist group is and what counts as "hostilities." And it could include anyone and anything in that: Timothy McVeigh. Branch Davidians. Freeman Militia. Occupy Wall Streeters. Tea Partiers. H&R commenters.

Ron Paul Daily Paul on this atrocity here.

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107 responses to “Revoke Citizenship, Then Gitmoize: The Latest Chapter In The Assault on American Civil Liberties

  1. Will Obama be forced to pragmatically but unwillingly sign this one, too?

    1. Just world: Obama has crossed the ultimate threshold. He is directly discarding the Constitution and engaging in insurrection. He’s a treasonous fuck that deserves to be shot for his crimes.

      Our world: SO DREAMY.

      1. As it has been pointed out to me when I previously made that suggestion about Holder over the fast and furious thing….a firing squad has a tinge of honor to it. Hanging is reserved for the treasonous.

        1. At this point, I’ll take whatever I can get. Although watching petty tyrants fry on an electric chair would be even better.

      2. It’s a paid vacation to Gitmo for you, my boy.

      3. So ANSWER, Moveon.org, and Amnesty International will be sending about 50,000 into the streets tomorrow over this, right?

        FUCK THEM

    2. He could just use the autopen then claim that he never signed it.

  2. And it could include anyone and anything in that: Timothy McVeigh. Branch Davidians. Freeman Militia. Occupy Wall Streeters. Tea Partiers. H&R commenters.

    Warty’s already on the watch list. So is Paul, if you can believe it.

    1. How did I get downgraded to the “watch list”? I thought I was full on wanted. I drove zig zag patterns all the way home to avoid a tail.

      Why does even this category of being wanted have to be ripped from my clutches?

  3. H&R commenters were the first group that popped in my head when I began reading the article. If I had some way to verify, I would make a hefty bet that the fuckers have already made a list of commenters on this site and many others that regularly critisize the administration. And, there have been some pretty blistering criticisms. Shikha, I have to add that the writers on those sites are on there too.

    They see themselves as ‘the US’, not you, me, and Joe the plumber.
    Thus anyone criticizing them could be construed as engaging in ‘hostilities’ against the US..

    Where do these fuckers come from?

    1. They admit to watching Drudge plus other, unspecified, blogs.

      I would be very, very surprised if this blog were not on their list and if they hadn’t tracked both the proper names and addresses of most of the regular commenters. (And I don’t think Norton will catch their spybots, assuming Norton hasn’t been advised NOT to block them.)

    2. from their mothers’ cunts – or is it from their cunts’ mothers?

  4. Vance v Terrazas (1980) establishes that there is a constitutional right to citizenship in the 14th amendment, and to lose citizenship the government must show by a preponderance of the evidence in court that the person intended to give up their citizenship.

    1. Your theory functions only under the assumption that this and subsequent administrations will adhere to our laws of governance. You’re kidding yourself.

      1. Well, if they’re totally ignoring the law then whether you’re a citizen doesn’t matter anyway.

      2. Shit – there are so many laws you have already broken several dozen just breathing out CO2…

      3. courts are for pussies

        1. Really amazing how, when you think of all the ire Bush drew for the Patriot act, Obama can put that to shame. And what do we get? A giant “NEVERMIND”. Fuck ’em. They’re the enemy.

    2. Exactly. There are so many ways this bill violates the constitution it’s not funny.

      We need a constitutional amendment that requires judicial review before a bill becomes a law. Yes, every stinking bill. Maybe we’d have to have a few more justices for that task, but something has to be done.

      1. We need a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of laws.

        1. Yes!!!! There should be a law…

      2. Yeah. A big problem with the constitution is that it has no built in enforcement mechanism. It would be nice to see some body whose sole power and purpose is to nullify unconstitutional laws.

        1. It would be nice to see some body whose sole power and purpose is to nullify unconstitutional laws.
          —————————-
          i could be wrong but doesn’t the Constitution already specify a branch of govt to do this?

          1. No. John Marshall’s Supreme court gave that power to itself.

            1. *Court

              1. correct.

                and fwiw, i have often commented on how frequently legislators (especially state ones) write blatantly unconstitutional law

                why SHOULDN’T they?

                there is NO disincentive really?

                they cannot be sued (absolute immunity)

                as soon as their is a problem du jour, they can step in , write some kneejerk unconstitutional law, and then claim they DID something

                and then when the court throws it out, they can blame the courts

                1. and fwiw, i have often commented on how frequently legislators (especially state ones) write blatantly unconstitutional law

                  why SHOULDN’T they?

                  Well, there is the fact that every single one of them swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Of course, that only matters if we are dealing with honorable people, and that usually isn’t the case.

          2. i could be wrong but doesn’t the Constitution already specify a branch of govt to do this?

            No. From Wikipedia:

            “In the United States, federal and state courts (at all levels, both appellate and trial) are able to review and declare the “constitutionality”, or agreement with the Constitution (or lack thereof) of legislation that is relevant to any case properly within their jurisdiction. In American legal language, “judicial review” refers primarily to the adjudication of constitutionality of statutes, especially by the Supreme Court of the United States. However the power of judicial review is not included in the United States Constitution: the Supreme Court is said to have ‘discovered’ this formidable power for itself. The ruling in Marbury v Madison (1803) was the first example of judicial review. In this ruling the Court stated that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is” and declared an Act of Congress unconstitutional.”

            1. Shorter: The leaders of all three branches of the federal government take an oath of office swearing to uphold the constitution. Thus, it is the duty of each branch to police the other two branches for violations of these oaths, and fight it out if they disagree on what is unconstitutional.

              1. Nice one. What is this, maaaaaaaaaan, like, 1733?

              2. so when does the bell ring for this fight? Dana White is ready to sell out Mandalay Bay for the pay per view of hte millenium.

        2. My understanding is that the Founders believed an engaged and knowledgable citizenry would be the check. They would always love freedom, and vote out people who pass laws contrary to it.

          Oh how they were wrong. I blame illegal immigrants.

          1. iirc many of the founders didn’t expect the Constitution to last more than 50 years.

            Very limited revenue streams, the lack of a standing army, and state legislature control of the Senate were more practical means of clamping down on the federal govt’s power.

      3. The judicial review comes in a “test case” once the law is enacted.

        1. Right. All you have to do is find someone willing to go to jail for however long it takes for him to be tried and convicted of breaking the law in question. Then he has to wait in prison while his lawyers file appeals sequentially at every level of appellate jurisdiction. Then finally he might get his case heard at the Supreme Court and they might overturn the law (if Anthony Kennedy’s lucky silver dollar comes up tails, that is). Then that test case subject – the one who has probably spent something like a decade in prison and incurred thousands of hours of billable attorney hours by now – gets out of jail (eventually).

          Then the legislative body that made the law gets outraged, tweaks the struck down law slightly to provide a fig leaf of compliance with the ruling, and we can start the process again.

      4. Is there a good reason why the constitutionality of laws isn’t reviewed until AFTER they are implemented?

    3. Here’s how this goes:

      1. We pass this bill into law.
      2. We assume that everyone knows about it.
      3. By #2, anyone who does the things specified in the law can be assumed to intend to renounce his citizenship. Otherwise, why would he have done those things?

    4. 14th Amendment to what?

  5. Wait til SPLC gets a load of the HnR milipia!

  6. The one crime spelled out in the Constitution is treason.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Enemy Expatriation Act is blatantly unconstitutional. Well, I guess they don’t have to convict anyone of treason, they just bypass that altogether.

    1. What’s a constatutitution?

      1. A constatytytutotuuion is that roll of white paper hanging in your bathroom.

    2. Counterfeiting is also there.

      1. It’s mentioned, yes, along with some others like piracy on the high seas. I guess I meant it is the only crime that is spelled out as to what it is and how to prosecute it.

    3. They aren’t trying to convict anyone of anything. They’re just redefining “due process” down to the level of an executive branch bureaucrat’s administrative say-so.

  7. The US government is committed to the principle that you can voluntarily relinquish your citizenship. This goes back at least to the War of 1812, when we defended Americans who were born British but became naturalized U.S. citizens.

    The standard way to renounce one’s US citizenship is to leave the country and disavow citizenship in some embassy abroad. There are other methods, but it centers on the wishes of the renunciant.

    Stripping someone of citizenship as a punishment is a different matter, and the candid observer will have to admit that this is what this bill is almost certainly about. We’re not generously defending the rights of terrorists to a choice of citizenship – we’re authorizing the executive to strip citizenship from Americans they *believe* supported war against the U.S.

    Under an obscure document called the Constitution, if we want to punish someone for a crime, they first have to be convicted by a jury. Loverman and his cohorts seem to want to skip that part.

    1. … which nullifies their legitimacy and defines their activities henceforth as treason against the United States, a crime punishable by death. I hope they all end up hanging for it. /Pipe dream.

      1. I would be content with “voted out of office for it.”

        1. I would be content with it also, but RPA makes a good point. The federal government is fast delegitimizing itself as the lawful government of this land.

          1. The federal government is fast delegitimizing itself as the lawful government of this land.

            —————

            It already did that a long time ago, but naive morons like me probably sat there with their fingers crossed believing it would soon change and the lapse in liberty and justice could be overlooked in the grand scale of things. I think at some point soon we might have to come to terms with the idea that it’s never going to get better before it gets much, much, much worse, and that breaks my heart.

            1. Perhaps I used more constraint in my language because I deeply fear that you are correct. We have only ourselves to blame.

              1. The federal government is fast delegitimizing itself as the lawful government of this land.

                Some of us believe “lawful government” is an oxymoron, equivalent to “lawful mafiosa rule”.

          2. I’ve got my eyes on you.

        2. Like I said, /pipe dream. Ron Paul 2012, eh?

  8. I mentioned this in the comments of a thread about a week ago. At the time I noted the irony of Lieberman, as a Jew, sponsoring legislation that would allow the government with more power to strip people of their citizenship?

    1. You know things are getting bad when Godwin’s Law doesn’t even apply anymore.

  9. In a case where the Supremes actually upheld the Constitution, alleged draft-dodgers were decalared to have the right to jury trial before being stripped of U.S. citizennhip:

    http://bulk.resource.org/court…..4.2.3.html

    I would think the same thing applies to terrorists.

    1. OT-ish…

      Does anyone have a more thorough understanding of how the supreme court came to the conclusion that the military draft is not constitutional what with the 13th amendment and all? The text is as simple as it gets.

      1. Their rationale is that the Constitution has always been interpreted that way.

        They allow an implied civic-duty exception to the 13th amendment, so you can be forced to serve in the military, on juries – in one case even work on the roads in lieu of paying taxes.

        The 13th generally seems to be interpreted as applying to private employment, so you can’t be forced to work for Farmer LeGree on pain of imprisonment.

      2. Does anyone have a more thorough understanding of how the supreme court came to the conclusion that the military draft is not constitutional what with the 13th amendment and all?

        Are you sure you didn’t mean un-constitutional?
        I think the draft was argued against on the grounds of the the 13th back at the time of the First World War. I believe the Court’s decision was in essence, that military conscription is neither involuntary nor servitude.

        1. Apologies. I meant, ahem, “…came to the conclusion that the military draft is constitutional…”

  10. “Ron Paul on this atrocity here.”

    It’s worth pointing out that the linked page is not Ron Paul or even someone necessarily working for him. At least according to the disclaimer at the top.

  11. American citizens who join a foreign army automatically relinquish their citizenship, he notes.

    Wasn’t there an exception made during WWII for Americans who joined the British or Canadian armies prior to the US entry into the war?

    1. I don’t think it is even true that it is automatic. I think it has to be a hostile military or you have to announce an intention to renounce citizenship.

      1. “I don’t think it is even true that it is automatic.”

        It isn’t.

        1. But, hey, the guys a congressman. Not knowing the law is SOP for that lot.

          1. it’s NOT true

            i had a friend in police academy who had joined IDF and did not have to renounce his citizenry to do so

    2. According to the State department’s website, their policy since 1990 has been that citizenship is only lost by formal renunciation at an embassy or consulate.

  12. It isn’t automatic revocation; In some cases you are required to join the army of your dual citizenship state.

    Jews fight for Israel, and maintain their US rights

  13. The next time a drone kills an American, and all the radicals object, The Administration can just say “No, no, you have it all wrong. Just before the missile exploded, we revoked his citizenship.”

    1. Or, “we have defined ‘pressing the launch missile’ button to include the function ‘revoking American citizenship’ in order to streamline administrative costs”

      1. Actually, “revoked his citizenship” is a killer euphemism for a drone strike.

        1. If there’s one thing I learned from Lethal Weapon 2, it’s that a L.A. police officer has the authority to revoke diplomatic immunity and summarily execute a criminal suspect without consequence. Is it really much different for a President to have a similar power over U.S. citizens?

      2. There’s an implied revocation of citizenship. I think we can assume that if the president does it, it’s legal.

  14. I’m holding out for the government to bring back the old Soviet institution of non-personhood. You know, the way Trotsky disappeared from official pictures and John Paul Jones disappeared from Russian history.

    1. God help us all.

    2. You know, the way Trotsky disappeared from official pictures and John Paul Jones disappeared from Russian history

      Or the way you probably won’t be able to own property, hold a drivers license, go to state universities, vote, open a bank account etc., etc., etc. … unless you pay that fee for permission to live in the country of your birth. You know the fee – the one that either the health insurance companies or the IRS will begin collecting this year?

  15. Is Ron Paul letting people ghostwrite for him again? It’s got his name on the title.

  16. Why is everyone freaking out. The NDAA obviously doesn’t affect US citizens, the Constitution overrides it no matter what it says. Technically it doesn’t apply to anybody. As the Judge pointed out last night, it has already been ruled that the Const. applies to the US government wherever it may exist. It has also already been ruled that the Feds can not take away a persons citizenship no matter what they do.

    1. Actually they can take it away if they prove with preponderance of the evidence that a person intended to lose their US citizenship, by fighting in a hostile military or accepting public office in a foreign country, etc. But it does take more than the SoS’s say-so.

      1. They are supposed to give you some kind of hearing.

        They cannot revoke your citizenship under current law without some kind of due process.

      2. Under some, but not all, circumstances fighting in a hostile military could get you charged with treason.

      3. Also, they can’t make you stateless. That is, unless some other country is willing to take you, they pretty much have to keep you.

        Although, there are some circumstances where that isn’t true but that’s more complicated.

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  18. Everyone knows that H&R commenters are the most dangerous threat to National Security ever.

    1. Sure, they pose as a bunch of differently-lifed, hunchbacked, internet-addicted, pasty-faced, insomniac comment-gnomes, but in their copious spare time they could be up to anything!

      Anything, I tell you!

    2. The only thing Epi is a threat to, is somone’s anus.

  19. H&R commenters.

    So when are you going to start selling the “I commented on Reason and all I got was an indefinite stay in Guatanimo.” shirts?

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  21. Hey, I only sometimes refer to myself as a truckbomb libertarian!

  22. The NDAA only goes to further stifle our Constitutional Rights without the approval of the Americans, just as the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year are attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot…..years.html

  23. Since the very tenets of the political party known as Islam is to be constantly “engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States”, this bill may facilitate the removal this vile and unconstitutional Party (and its members) from the United States, and that ain’t all bad at all.

    1. Bigoted shithead, right here to see you, folks.

    2. Neil Turner, your name is now on the “List”. We don’t have to explain why.

  24. There. I changed my handle from “Promoter of Liberty” so I got taken off the “List”. I’m safe now in the warm womb of the Big Govt Public Safety Sector.

  25. …didn’t he run with Gore? Would that REALLY have been a better choice than what we got?

  26. Lisa: And Ralph is only eight years old. It says in the Constitution you have to be 35.
    Bart: The Constitution? I’m pretty sure the Patriot Act killed it to ensure our freedoms.

    Homer Simpson: “When are people going to learn? Democracy doesn’t work.”

    1. Hollywood is fine with the Patriot Act, and much worse, now that Obama is president.

      Deny it.

  27. You have to admit those guys seem to know what thedeal is.

    http://www.anon-vpn.tk

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  29. “War against terror” turning into “war against Americans who disapprove of totalitarian government”. But where’s the general outrage? I’m not seeing it, except among the usual suspects…
    Our country as we’ve known it is already gone. I don’t think it can be restored. Every succeeding administration leaves us worse off than the last.
    Some will ask “how can it get worse?”
    Please believe that it can and probably will.

  30. …you still believe in your right to defend yourself and confont your accuser in a court of…what…law? Law’s gone. Totalitarians in charge.

  31. Beyond stupid. At least this is an easy way for people to know who to vote against……Anyone who voted for NDAA. Also anyone who supports this.

    http://www.wallstreetrant.com

  32. y stands, the government might be able to strip Americans of their http://www.maillotfr.com/maill…..-3_12.html citizenship if the State Department certifies that they are either engaged in or support hostilities against the United States. There would be no need to take them before a court of law, present evidence and get a conviction.

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