When Sarah Palin spoke at the 2008 Republican Convention she made a dismissive comment (in the speech written for her) about reading Miranda-like rights to captured terror suspects.
And on Sept. 8, 2008, The Washington Post reported Barack Obama’s retort.
I thought that, in the face of Republican cynicism about suspects’ rights, it was an eloquent and brave defense of habeus corpus, and reminds me of why it is so important to fight with Obama this year:
Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for more than a decade, said captured suspects deserve to file writs of habeus corpus.
Calling it “the foundation of Anglo-American law,” he said the principle “says very simply: If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, ‘Why was I grabbed?’ And say, ‘Maybe you’ve got the wrong person.'”
The safeguard is essential, Obama continued, “because we don’t always have the right person.”
“We don’t always catch the right person,” he said. “We may think it’s Mohammed the terrorist, but it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it’s Barack the bomb-thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president.”
Obama turned back to Palin’s comment, although he said he was not sure whether Palin or Rudy Giuliani said it.
“The reason that you have this principle is not to be soft on terrorism. It’s because that’s who we are. That’s what we’re protecting,” Obama said, his voice growing louder and the crowd rising to its feet to cheer. “Don’t mock the Constitution. Don’t make fun of it. Don’t suggest that it’s not American to abide by what the founding fathers set up. It’s worked pretty well for over 200 years.”