The Instigator
bsh1
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
KBattleson
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Extending Terrorists Due Process Rights

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,780 times Debate No: 36750
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

bsh1

Pro

The Topic: The United States ought to extend to non-citizens accused of terrorism the same constitutional due process protections it grants to citizens.

Burdens: The Pro must show that, from a moral/philosophical standpoint, withhold some due process rights from non-citizens accused of terrorism is best. The Con should do the opposite. Burden of proof is joint.

Proviso: No new evidence should be introduced after round three. No new arguments should be introduced after round two. Also, morality shall be understood by both debaters to mean "justness and rightness, as understood by most human cultures."

My Argument:

I affirm the topic.

Definitions from Encarta:
United States- the People and Government of the U.S.
Ought- Indicates a moral obligation
Accused Terrorists-Charged with committing, planning, or abetting acts of violence, especially bombing, assassination, etc. carried out for political reasons
Due Process Protections-The judicial protections granted by and being derived from the Constitution, including the right to a jury, the right to a speedy trial, etc.

Contention One: Human rights affirm that all people are universally guaranteed due process.

Sub-point A: According to Emily Zechenter, a prominent Human Rights Lawyer, human rights encompass basic moral principles held by all cultures on Earth and seek to ensure minimum standards of treatment for all.

She states, human rights "provide important protections for individuals who would otherwise be entirely at the mercy of the state or the group in power. These protections include such basic rights as the right to bodily integrity; the right to be free from torture and...abuse; the right to be free from arbitrary courts, imprisonment, police coercion, etc." The U.S. in particular, has signed and ratified the ICCPR, a legally-binding treaty wherein any person is assured a right to due process, "as administered by the legal system of that state."

Sub-point B: The Constitution itself embodies these human rights principles, contends Prof. Afsheen J. Radsan.

After analyzing the Supreme Court Cases of Boumediene and Matthews, he stated that "the Due Process Clause applies"to government action worldwide. This is consistent with the"text of the Fifth Amendment, which bars"without any express territorial limitation"the government from depriving any person of rights"without due process of law..." U.S Attorney Loretta Lynch concurs, noting, "in the area of civil liberties"the Constitution does not make distinctions based upon citizenship status, but guarantees certain basic rights to all "persons." This reflects our view that the legal system"must treat everyone equally. Certain basic rights, e.g., due process, must be equally applied across the board for the integrity of the legal system as well as for the benefit of the individual"Even when national security is at stake, we must, provide for due process of law..."

Sub-point C: These human rights concerns also translate into moral rules.

Prof. Thomas Pogge of Yale, observed that "Persons have a moral duty to respect human rights"Human rights express weighty moral concerns, which normally override other normative considerations" It would be entirely irresponsible to deprive ourselves of any moral basis for the assessment and reform of our global order. And the only such basis that could be both plausible and capable of wide international acceptance today is a conception of human rights." Prof. Jack Donnelly concurs, stating, "To violate someone's right is not merely to fail to do what is right but also to commit an"important moral and personal offense against the right-holder by failing to give him his due..."

Contention Two: Depriving non-citizens of due process"their human right"is not only immoral, but perilous as well.

Sub-point A: Detention centers where due process rights are derogated only serve to incite terrorism.

U.S. Airforce Terrorism Analyst Alexander Matthews, agrees, stating that, "Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq"at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy is close to the number of lives lost on 9/11." Alberto Mora, former U.S. Navy Counsel-General, agrees, noting that the abuses at detention centers are large contributors to Al Qaeda"s recruitment.

Sub-point B: Violating the rights of accused terrorists doesn"t deter terrorism.

According to Dr. Uri Fisher, "the deck is stacked against deterrence playing a significant role in U.S. counterterrorism policy because terrorists are highly motivated and therefore they are willing to risk anything " their lives in the case of suicide-bombers " to accomplish a goal"terrorists are also difficult to locate. Terrorist networks operate transnationally and therefore make reprisals difficult"it remains undecided how deterrence can work against an enemy that understands that the ultimate policy goal of the U.S. is not to coexist with groups like al-Qaeda, but to eradicate them."

Sub-point C: Violating the rights of those accused undermines U.S. credibility, increases anti-Americanism, and alienates our allies.

Mora notes that "allied nations hesitated to participate in combat operations if there was the possibility that"individuals captured during the operation could be abused by the U.S"Allied nations have refused on occasion to train with us in joint detainee capture and handling operations because of concerns about U.S. detainee policies. And senior NATO officers in Afghanistan"have left the room when issues of detainee treatment have been raised by U.S. officials out of fear that they may become complicit in detainee abuse"International cooperation"diminished as foreign officials became concerned that assisting the U.S. in detainee matters could constitute aiding and abetting criminal conduct in their own countries." Prof. David Cole claims that prisoner abuses have caused us to "forfeit the legitimacy of the struggle against terrorism, and make it less likely that we will obtain the cooperation we need from those countries, contributing to anti-American sentiment, which has never been higher than it is today. That cannot be good for our long-term interests, and it plays right into the hands of the terrorists' recruitment propaganda."

Human rights are ethical rules that our global community has put in place. To ignore them would not only be illegal: it would be immoral. The ramifications of disregarding those rights extend beyond morality, and jeopardize our very safety. The U.S., therefore, has a moral duty to ensure all individuals receive due process rights. Thus, I affirm.
KBattleson

Con

While I agree that terrorists should have access to judicial proceedings, I disagree that they should be tried as US citizens.

First off, someone who is not a US citizen who commits an act of sedition is not entitled to due process, nor have they ever been accorded such rights as standard practice. In practice, spies from all countries are do not receive access to foreign nations judiciary processes while on a foreign nations soil acting under the national interest of a competitor nation in violation of the aforementioned nations laws.

If a Russian spy were to be caught during the cold war stealing sensitive military documents, should they be tried as criminals? Of course not. They are not US citizens, so they do not have the same rights and privileges as a citizen of the United States of America.

Only people who are accused of acts of treason, and who are also United States citizens, are entitled to due process.

By law, you can not, for example, deport a US citizen, you can not arrest them without charging them with a crime, you can not conduct surveillance on them without a warrant from a federal judge, ect.

It is naive to allow foreign interest with nationalistic ties to foreign governments to have the same rights as US citizens, especially when such nations are openly hostile to the United States. Would you want North Korean soldiers visiting national monuments while "on vacation" to the United States? Would you want Iranian nuclear scientists touring nuclear facilities in America? Would you want Chinese agents gathering ground intel on american military supplies and personnel while "travelling abroad"?

Those who have immigrated to the United States, lawfully, should have the same rights and entitlements as any other citizen, no matter which country they hail from. Even Terrorist suspects should have some access to judiciary proceedings such as trial by tribunal.

But our criminal courts are simply not equipped to handle terrorist suspects.
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Pro

Firstly, let me give a generic overview of what my opponent has said so far by pointing out that the Con offers no evidence, nor does the Con address, specifically, any of my points (I urge him to do so in this second round). Instead, my opponent's position rests on a series of suppositions and rhetorical questions, not in depth analysis.

Now that my overview's complete, I'll move on to a line-by-line analysis of his position.

To begin, the Con discusses the concept of "sedition," which we can clarify as "any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting rebellion." (Random House) He claims that foreign nationals found to be participating in sedition are, historically, not granted the same due process rights as citizens. There are two counterarguments to be made here: (1) that sedition (or espionage) is not the same thing as terrorism, and is thus outside the scope of the topic, and (2) that even if sedition could be considered a terroristic act, only some terrorists engage in sedition. But frankly, I see this sedition argument as being beaten back by my Contention Two, Sub-point A. That depriving terrorists of due process rights will only serve to incite more violence. If the terrorists incite violence, and then you aggravate the situation, you have made it worse, not better. It therefore seems in our self-interest to affirm. Also, if you accept my contention one, that due process is a universal human right, it doesn't matter what has happened in a historical context. The resolution is asking us what the U.S. OUGHT to do, i.e., what is the moral thing to do. Just because this is how something was done in the past, does not mean we ought to do it.

The Con's second point, focuses on what happens when a terrorist or spy is caught on U.S. soil. Two things: (1) a spy is not the same as a terrorist as terrorism implies acts of physical violence, which spying does not, and (2) who is to say that the individual was captured on U.S. soil. The U.S. has hundreds of prisoners and accused terrorists who were captured abroad and the spirited back to detention centers like Guantanamo, where they are left to languish in prison with no means of legal redress. When the U.S. kidnapped them--which, arguably, it did--it also skirted the typical international legal protocols needed to extradite someone. This means, the U.S. did not give the individuals the right to protest their extradition/kidnapping, and the U.S. should, consequently, give them a fair trial now to prevent innocent people from being detained indefinitely.

I think, though, that up until this point both my opponent and I are not really clashing that much, especially as my opponent states that "even Terrorist suspects should have some access to judiciary proceedings such as trial by tribunal." Therefore, I feel that the crux of this debate comes down to where to draw the line between "some rights" and the "same rights." The con suggests trials by tribunals as viable and fair alternatives. I disagree. According to Prof. Eugene Fidell, "Trial in federal district court affords a variety of constitutional protections not known to military commissions or courts-martial, such as indictment by grand jury and trial by a randomly drawn twelve-member jury of one's peers. It also guarantees an independent judge protected by life tenure. In contrast, military commission jurors are handpicked and the presiding judges lack secure tenure required for judicial independence." The con also suggests that civilian courts could not handle terrorism case, which I believe is also a fallacious assumption. According to Prof. Stephen J. Schulhofer, "The federal courts are already well-equipped to protect classified information and to handle all the other complexities of terrorism trials...terrorism suspects can be indicted and tried for their alleged crimes in the ordinary civilian court system. That approach will avoid further damage to America"s reputation for respecting human rights, and it will enhance our ability to win the whole-hearted cooperation of our allies in the global counterterrorism effort, including our ability to extradite terror suspects held in allied nations abroad. It will ensure an essential check on government power through independent judicial oversight of the momentous executive decision to deprive an individual of his liberty"and will also permit much more expeditious and efficient prosecution, conviction and punishment than a newly created system of military tribunals will ever be able to achieve."

Once we reject this argument for distinguishing between "some" and "same" rights, that leaves my opponent with--as I see it--two main reasons to extend the accused only some rights. Those reasons are, as he alluded to and argued several times, (a) that it would be illegal to grant non-citizens equal rights and (b) that it would be detrimental to national security to do so. This second reason is directly addressed in my contention two, which lists myriad reasons why the pro side is actually better for national security. My arguments went unaddressed here in round one. The first reason, regarding the illegality of extending non-citizens the same rights, is both constitutionally incorrect, but also incorrect from the perspective of international law. I outlined in my first contention, which also largely was not rebutted, that international human rights norms make it both a moral and legal right of all people to have equal due process. But, additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has set ample precedent for granting non-citizens the same rights. As observed by Prof. Richard Pious, "The Bill of Rights protects 'persons,' not 'citizens.' For more than a century the court has held that aliens are 'persons' under the meaning of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and therefore are entitled to due process." In the words of Prof. Gerard Clark, "The Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process of law applies to 'any person,' even a terrorist, who is accused of a crime by the Federal Government or any of its agencies. The Supreme Court has upheld this interpretation. No exception is made as such an exception would be contrary to the whole philosophy of human rights which makes the Constitution the great living document that it is. The immutable rights of the individual, including those secured by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, belong not alone to the members of those nations that excel on the battlefield or that subscribe to the democratic ideology. They belong to every person in the world, victor or vanquished." It therefore seems that as terrorists are "persons" that, constitutionally, the should get the same rights, not merely "some rights."

This has been a fascinating debate so far, and I look forward to the con's responses.
KBattleson

Con

yeah... you can call me ignorant if you want, but I'm not arguing with that wall of text. I find that quotations serve only to weaken one's argument, being rigid and dogmatic in their interpretation and infuriatingly repetitious in their application. I wasn't aware that I was supposed to address your points, only that I was expected to present a counterargument that ran contrary to your position, but if you want me to address your points individually, I will simply use the summaries you provided.

Contention One: Human rights affirm that all people are universally guaranteed due process.

Human Rights aren't guaranteed to anyone. They are achieved through the careful application of force as a response to a perceived violation. What people are willing to fight and die for are different from what people are willing to risk censure and ridicule for. Further, what constitutes a human right in an individuals mind is by no means universal, as is assumed by your argument.

Sub-point A: According to Emily Zechenter, a prominent Human Rights Lawyer, human rights encompass basic moral principles held by all cultures on Earth and seek to ensure minimum standards of treatment for all.

Again, a culture or nations perception of what constitutes a human right is by no means universal, in and in this particular case, I am inclined to believe more people are in favor of denying a suspected terrorist due process than are in favor of it.

Sub-point B: The Constitution itself embodies these human rights principles, contends Prof. Afsheen J. Radsan.

The constitution has specific provisions for acts of treason and sedition as well. It maintains that human rights that are otherwise guaranteed must be suspended on occasion in order to see to it that justice is done. For example, Habeus Corpus can often be suspended to mental patients who are deemed a danger to themselves or others, as well as trial by jury in regards to their detainment and incarceration.

Sub-point C: These human rights concerns also translate into moral rules.

Again, subject to interpretation. Appealing to a higher authority in the form of missives to an educated populace or ruling elite might be considered by some an authoritarian measure, some might even perceive your direct appeal towards our ruling body as a subversion of the democratic process. Had you asked people during the height of the Iraq War their view on this topic, undoubtedly their would be an overwhelming negative response to such a suggestion.

Confusing the human rights violations in regards to torture of suspected prisoners is not the same as granting terrorist suspects entitlements along the lines of due process. Though not explicitly implied, I believe you are confusing the issue.

Contention Two: Depriving non-citizens of due process"their human right"is not only immoral, but perilous as well.

Admittedly, there was a general lack of oversight and an occasional victim washed ashore amid an atmosphere of hysteria and violence. This was due to a lack of general concern for prisoners welfare and wellbeing, as well as a an anti-islamic sentiment that swelled throughout the ranks of senior intelligence officials and military personnel. But guaranteeing someone the right to due process does not mean that no further injustice will befall such victims. Discrimination within the courts has been ongoing for years, and the misunderstanding of complex foriegn issues has been a cause for contention in domestic courts for centuries in america. A jury hellbent on vengeance for a terrorist attack is far more likely to be biased and partial towards a guilty verdict than a tribunal held by the U.N. or collection of concerned parties and nations.

Sub-point A: Detention centers where due process rights are derogated only serve to incite terrorism.

Dentention centers do far more than process terrorist suspects. They also harbor refugees and illegal immigrants seeking asylum, they deal with suspects awaiting extradition, they detain suspects who are thought to be in violation of sanctions and embargoes, (including weapon embargoes) they provide our nation with a means of preventing war and maintaining diplomatic relations with hundreds of member nations in U.N.

Sub-point B: Violating the rights of accused terrorists doesn"t deter terrorism.

I hate to point out the obvious, but it does if those accused are guilty of terrorism, and those rights are of a nature that would otherwise prevent them from being prosecuted due to a technicality in the legality of the law as it is written. Suspending Habeus Corpus may be necessary when searching for a translator, trying to determine a suspects nation of origin, or shipping a suspect overseas, as 24 hours may not be long enough to establish the suspects identity or determine what, if anything, he is being charged with. To say that any right is absolute is to deny the existence of extenuating circumstances which have been set in precedent hundreds, if not thousands, of times in the past.

Sub-point C: Violating the rights of those accused undermines U.S. credibility, increases anti-Americanism, and alienates our allies.

I agree that we should have some format which guarantees certain rights to the accused, but suggest that due process is by any means universal and can be applied universally is ludicrous. What we need is more oversight, better appeals processes and sterner laws regarding the torture and unlawful detention of prisoners, not dragging international affairs into kangaroo courts and letting broad spectrum public appeal determine complex foreign policy decisions.

In my opinion, our reputation amongst the peoples of foreign nations is far less important than seeing to it that justice is being done. We may be unpopular, but maintaining the peace in the face of this new threat is far more important than allowing ourselves to be swayed by public opinion in regards to this matter.
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Pro

I"ll be first addressing the overview/framework arguments, then defending my own case, reiterating some of my earlier attacks, and crystallizing/impacting the round.

The quotes I offered were not merely "dogma," but rather contained logic that supported my various claims. However, at this point the debate is revolving around more substantive clashes, which I will now discuss.

DEFENSE OF THE PRO:

Contention One: Human rights are naturally universal"it is understood and implied within the term itself. Human rights are "human," and extend to us all. However, even if we reject that notion, I mentioned the ICCPR, a legally-binding treaty which forces the U.S. to comply to human rights norms as set out by the UN. One of those norms is due process for all persons, even terrorists. Thus, from a human rights, as well as from a legal perspective, terrorists should have the same rights.

Sub-point A: What my sources is saying is not that most people favor granting terrorists rights, but rather that most cultures extend due process to all persons.

Sub-point B: There are some important flaws in your arguments, here especially. The Supreme Court has held (in the Boumediene case I referred to earlier) that terrorists, like any citizens, have the right to appeal a denial of Habeas Corpus; in essence, that they have the same rights. Secondly, nowhere in the Constitution is sedition mentioned"feel free to check. Thirdly, the Constitution does grant accused traitors due process rights. It states quote: "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."

Sub-point C: Human rights actually serve as checks against authoritarianism, by preventing the government from overstepping its legitimate authority. For example, the human right to vote prevents governments from rescinding that right. But in any case, the legally-binding ICCPR is hardly "up to interpretation." It"s firm as concrete.

Contention Two: The UN probably wouldn"t try the terrorists, because it views their detention, and sometimes their arrests, as unlawful. The UN could potentially send them back to their home country, which could prove to be a security nightmare. Furthermore, being tried by a panel of nations wouldn"t give the terrorists a fair trial, as nations would vote based on their own political agenda. The U.S. could even pressure some of them to vote for conviction of terrorists by threatening to withdraw aid, etc. Besides, juries that have been properly vetted, whose members are not necessarily biased, are a better choice than countries that have obvious political interests at stake, interests that cannot be prescreen for because they are endemic to all nations. Finally, the U.S., which holds the terrorists, does not recognize the legitimacy of any international courts like that, meaning it would not give up the terrorists to the UN or The Hague or any other external judiciary.

Sub-point A: I was speaking specifically of the detention of terrorists.

Sub-point B: Violating rights is liable to incite terrorists, by enabling their leaders to demonize the West. My opponents counterargument also fails to acknowledge how hard it is to locate terrorists. Furthermore, they are "accused terrorists" and deserve a presumption of innocence.

Sub-point C: The Con doesn"t actually address my analysis regarding growing anti-American sentiment due to our policy of denying suspects equal rights. This growing animosity only serves to hinder U.S. diplomacy, further undermining our ability to achieve our national security objective. The Con resumes the conversation about the "same rights" vs. "some rights," which is a great segue into the next segment of my rebuttal, where I will address this dichotomy.

REVIEW OF THE CON

I argued that my opponent made three mains arguments for only grant "some" rights, instead of the "same" rights. Those three points were that (1) Military Tribunals were fair and effective, that (2) granting terrorists equal rights would endanger U.S. security, and that (3) it would be unconstitutional to grant non-citizens the same due process rights
Firstly, the Con seems to abandon his earlier argument regarding military tribunals in favor of this notion of a UN or international court. Thus, my points about the absence of judicial independence within the tribunal system as well as the fact that civilian courts are more than equipped to handle terrorist cases stand. Secondly, my Contention Two (which I defended earlier) provides clear national security benefits inherent to the pro side.

The Constitutionality issue, though, is far more important. If, Constitutionally, the U.S. should grant non-citizens equal protects, then the military tribunal and the international court arguments are unimportant, because the U.S. must still grant equal rights to terrorists regardless of other factors. In light of my opponent"s poor Constitutional analysis in Round Two, particularly in regards to Treason, I think the evidence I offered is sound. Most vitally, the Bill of Rights extends equal due process protections to "all persons," not just "all citizens." This is underscored by Supreme Court case precedent that non-citizens, including terrorists, are "persons" and therefore owed the same due process as citizens. Thus, the Constitutionality argument goes pro.

Ultimately, the Con closes by stating that doing justice is the most important concern. But, he advocated denying accused non-citizens Habeas Corpus, which would keep them in prison for extended/indefinite periods of time. In that case he wouldn"t even be granting them "some rights," which seems contradictory to his earlier assertions. Justice, in this case, relies on equality of protection, to ensure that the accused are not unfairly victimized.

KEY ISSUES/REASONS TO VOTE PRO

(1) That the three main reasons Con gave for extending "some" but not the "same" rights do not hold water.

(2) The legally-binding ICCPR, to which we are a party, compels the U.S. to extend equal due process rights to non-citizens as a matter of human rights. It"s not subjective, and not a matter of higher principle. It"s the law.

(3) That the Constitutionality argument goes Pro. This is the most important issue in the round, because if the U.S. is constitutionally required to grant non-citizens accused of terrorism the same rights, then it ought to do so, and the topic is affirmed. The Bill of Rights gives "all persons" the SAME rights, and this interpretation has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The Impact: any one of these issues is sufficient to vote for the pro, because accepting any one of these will have shown either that the Con has failed to meet its part of the burden of proof (to show that the "same rights" are not due) or that that Pro has proved its part of the burden.

With that, I ask you for your vote. Thank you, and thanks to KBattleson for a great, and intense, debate!
KBattleson

Con

KBattleson forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by bsh1 4 years ago
bsh1
Yeah, I did mess up burdens of proof. Thanks for noticing that!
Posted by KBattleson 4 years ago
KBattleson
I'm just posting this as a reminder to myself for any potential rebuttal.

CIA intelligence gathered abroad is normally inadmissible to criminal court proceedings, on the grounds that such information is classified and of a sensitive nature, and revealing such information may result in harm to national security.
Posted by KBattleson 4 years ago
KBattleson
heh, sorry. posted under comments accidently.

also, it looks like you got you pro and con burdens of proof mixed up.
Posted by KBattleson 4 years ago
KBattleson
While I agree that terrorists should have access to judicial proceedings, I disagree that they should be tried as US citizens.

First off, someone who is not a US citizen who commits an act of sedition is not entitled to due process, nor have they ever been accorded such rights as standard practice. In practice, spies from all countries are do not receive access to foreign nations judiciary processes while on a foreign nations soil acting under the national interest of a competitor nation in violation of the aforementioned nations laws.

If a Russian spy were to be caught during the cold war stealing sensitive military documents, should they be tried as criminals? Of course not. They are not US citizens, so they do not have the same rights and privileges as a citizen of the United States of America.

Only people who are accused of acts of treason, and who are also United States citizens, are entitled to due process.

By law, you can not, for example, deport a US citizen, you can not arrest them without charging them with a crime, you can not conduct surveillance on them without a warrant from a federal judge, ect.

It is naive to allow foreign interest with nationalistic ties to foreign governments to have the same rights as US citizens, especially when such nations are openly hostile to the United States. Would you want North Korean soldiers visiting national monuments while "on vacation" to the United States? Would you want Iranian nuclear scientists touring nuclear facilities in America? Would you want Chinese agents gathering ground intel on american military supplies and personnel while "travelling abroad"?

Those who have immigrated to the United States, lawfully, should have the same rights and entitlements as any other citizen, no matter which country they hail from. Even Terrorist suspects should have some access to judiciary proceedings such as trial by tribunal.

But our criminal courts are simply not equipped to handle terrorist suspects.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 4 years ago
lannan13
bsh1KBattlesonTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF