What Would 9/11 Have Been Like Without the Constitution? Look at France

Socialist government likely to amend French constitution to extend state of emergency, strip citizenship of convicted dual nationals


Joyeux Noel! ||| CBS News
CBS News

Thanks to the exertions of Anthony Fisher and John Stossel, Reason readers are well aware that France has responded to the horrific attacks of last month by cracking down on civil liberties through an ever-extending state of emergency that includes such nastinesses as judicial-free house arrest and government closure of websites. To that we can add the announcement from Prime Minister Manuel Valls last week that he seeks to amend the constitution to make some of those emergency measures permanent, and strip the French citizenship of dual nationals who are convicted of as-yet unspecified crimes against the state.

I write about this, with some mild local color, in today's L.A. Times, giving props to the resilience of the U.S. Constitution in the face of similar political desires. Excerpt:

Sadly, America's political class seems eager to follow where France now treads. Sen. Ted Cruz is the primary sponsor of the Expatriate Terrorist Act, which would strip nationality from Americans determined to have given "material assistance" to terrorist organizations.

Lest anyone think this is a GOP-only idea, Hillary Clinton in 2010 was eager to take a "hard look" at her friend Joe Lieberman's similarly worded Terrorist Expatriation Act, telling the New York Times that "People who are serving foreign powers — or in this case, foreign terrorists — are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens."

Clinton also has an unfortunately Parisian outlook about censoring American social media sites. "They cannot permit the recruitment and the actual direction of attacks or the celebration of violence," the Democratic favorite declared this month on ABC's "This Week." "They're going to have to help us take down these announcements and these appeals."

Whole thing, including an O. Henry-like National Front twist at the end, here.