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Schumer comes out against Lieberman's citizenship-stripping plan

Okay, it turns out that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) is not supporting Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman's new proposal to strip the citizenship of those who are involved with terror groups. In fact, he's coming out against it forcefully, saying it's likely unconstitutional and not a good way to fight terror.

As I noted below, Lieberman is set to introduce the new proposal at a presser tomorrow. Schumer had reportedly claimed that it was something he could support.

But Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon emails me to say that Schumer was blindsided by a reporter's question and doesn't support the measure at all:

The senator was approached abruptly in the hall of the Capitol by a reporter before he had even heard about the legislation or what it did. Having learned about the proposal, he believes it would be found unconstitutional in this context and would also be ineffective. There are much better ways of obtaining information from terrorists.

That last line is key.

Lieberman's proposal is designed to strip citizenship from terror suspects in order to make it possible to sidestep the need to Mirandize them. Lieberman has sided with Republicans on the Miranda question.

But now Schumer is saying pointedly that there are better ways to extract information from terrorists than not reading them their Miranda rights. Given that Schumer is a senior member of leadership who is well respected inside the Dem caucus, earlier reports that Schumer might support Lieberman's idea suggested other Dems might do so, too, which would have been dispiriting indeed.

But Schumer isn't on board at all. Still, it would be premature to rule out the possibility that other Dems will support it.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 5, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Senate Dems  
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Called it!

I knew something sounded off about Schumer supporting this thing. I wonder how that rumor got started in the first place...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 5, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

So just being suspected is enough to strip your citizenship? Brilliant.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Missed the grand unveiling earlier, but love the new site, Greg! Nice picture, too. ;-)

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 5, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Shumer could do us the favor of introducing a bill to strip any elected official who supports this bill of the title "Senator" or "Representative" on the grounds that they have violated their oath to uphold the constitution.

Or better yet, perhaps the citizens of Connecticut need to determine what their state's laws are regarding the recall of a senator.

Posted by: exco | May 5, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

So, would the head of AIPAC be stripped of his citizenship since it facilitated espionage against the US military on behalf of a foreign power?

Posted by: Dollared | May 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm not clear on what Lieberman is proposing. Doesn't the existing law already make provision for stripping citizenship after one os convicted of treason:

"A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality ... (7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction."

A criminal trial for treason or bearing arms against the U.S. seems to cover suspected citizen terrorists. Is Lieberman proposing that citizens be stripped of citizenship WITHOUT a criminal trial? By some guy in the State Department? OK, Joe. How about U.S. Senators whose allegiance to a foreign power, say Israel, compromises that senator's fealty to the U.S.? Maybe the State Dep't should strip citizenship there too. At least said Senator should be impeached. Right, Joe? Undoubtedly the Tebaggers will be out in force to defend the Constitution against this Congressional usurpation of citizens rights. Right?

Congrats on the new site, Greg. Can I still blockquote, etc.? It didn't work.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 5, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Why are certain politicians such fraidy cats, anyway? They react to an assault, or intended assault, on our freedom by trying to restrict our freedom. Don't understand that.

And Greg? Normally I agree with the cat, but this time, no. I don't like the site at all. It's slow, clunky, and pretty restricted in terms of what you can do.

The picture is nice, though. You look like you need more sleep.

Posted by: CTVoter | May 5, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Great post on why the hysteria over the Times Square Moron bomber is, well, hysteria:

I almost replaced Bill Berry in REM, if by "replaced" you mean "lived down the street from the Berrys in Athens, GA and sat on my porch every day anticipating Mary Berry driving by in her cute convertible."

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 5, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey exco--Connecticut resident here. Our state law doesn't allow for a recall. As we all found out after 2006.

Posted by: CTVoter | May 5, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Greg, any reason the comment font is so damn small? Also, without much differentiating color/shading (or whatever), the page looks too monochromatic, if that makes sense. It just looks bland compared to the old site. Anyone else? Maybe punch up the graphics? On my screen the comments are all very small and it's nothing but empty screen to the right. And no, I don't want to make the font bigger, because that will make every other font giant and stupid-looking.

Go to the comments at Balloon Juice, for example. They're nice and readable and the look is very robust, without being overly fancy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 5, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Leiberman is a violence-loving theocrat—

what a surprise he doesn't understand, or protect, the Constitution.

Posted by: lichtme | May 5, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

thanks, and wbgonne, appreciate it!

and CT voter and BG, apologies if you don't like the commenting platform...I'm tryin' :)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 5, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

do they really think that "reading the miranda rights" is what conveys those rights? somebody is drinking the stupid sauce!

interrogating a suspect w/o first reading the miranda rights jeopardizes subsequent courtroom use of any information obtained. reading the miranda rights is the FIRST thing that should be done in order to preserve the usability of an interrogation!

even glenn beck gets this. mccain and lieberman are just SO STUPID!

Posted by: peterhoneyman | May 5, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Well I now have a new ID (previously Debra) and I want to congratulate you, Greg, on your new site at the Washington Post.
I've been following your blog since the early 2008 primary days at TPM (exciting times!)and hope this new site will be as interesting and enjoyable for the readers and a great success for you.

Posted by: Beeliever | May 5, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Greg, it was constructive criticism. For those of us who spend time here it's nice to have a welcoming site.

For example, maybe you could try to make it more like the guy's garage in the movie "I Love You, Man." Maybe get some electric guitars, a mini-fridge, and some home entertainment equipment.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 5, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

thanks Beeliever (formerly Debra) appreciate it.

by the way, I think I've fixed the RSS feed by replacing it with a new one, can you all let me know if it's better (or worse?) thx much

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 5, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

BG, I could go for a bean bag chair.

Greg, I'm sure it will be fine once we all get used to it. I didn't like the reply function at first and now I miss it. Tena would be shocked to find I agree with her on something.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse


I have two issues with the new platform:

1. It seems to run slower than the old one. WaPo threads are known to bog down, and you have a good amount of comment action going on.

2. It may seem minor...but I don't like the column width. I mean, is WaPo formatting for people still running on decade old moniters? Makes all posts/comments look longer than they are, and requires more scrolling.

Other than that, I always said I'd prefer a preview to a reply feature. I'll have to get back into the habit of using the "@" again, but that is a small price to pay.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | May 5, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, the censorship on this new site is WAY beyond the old one. I have a post that is presently in moderation for using an auld Anglo Saxon phrase regarding procreation, however, I self censored and replaced the "U" and the "C" with asterisks and THAT earned me a trip to the moderation penalty box. Will impure thoughts next land us in the "sin bin?"

How in the world are we expected to know what is and isn't permissible? This seems to be beyond reasonable and into the realm of insane.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so, Joe! You really think Israeli gestapo tactics will work here? Do you forget that the USA HAS a constitution? Have you thought about the high-priced law suits AGAINST the US government for damages when State Dept gets this wrong? Bad for our democracy, against our constitution, bad for due process, bad all around!

Posted by: alloptionsonthetablein2010 | May 5, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

OK, here is the post in a sanitized version:

How do Miranda rights preclude the gathering of information? Questioning is not limited by a suspect being read their Miranda rights. The reading of Miranda rights merely informs the suspect OF their rights, it in no way limits law enforcement. There is no course of action open to law enforcement if the Miranda rights are not read, but there is a high likelihood that the suspect will get his/her case tossed out of court if the cops DON’T Mirandize the suspect.

Someone should ask Liebermann to explain what benefits accrue to law enforcement if Miranda rights are not read. Does he understand that those rights exist even if the suspect is not Mirandized? Is Lieberman really that stupid?

Who gets to decide if and when citizenship is stripped? Will it be a judge in open court? If so, how does this help the police? They read suspects their Miranda rights as they are being arrested. Would Lieberman give the police the power to revoke citizenship in the field? If not, in what possible way will this keep us any safer?

Lieberman and his ilk would have us shred the Constitution in order to protect us from others who might do us harm. Bin Laden can harm some of us, but can do nothing to alter or suspend the Constitution. However, Lieberman can inflict great harm upon the Constitution, or at least he can try to get us all to destroy that document.

It kind of reminds me of the 60’s saying, “fighting for piece is like [you-know-whating] for chastity.” Lieberman’s proposal makes about as much sense.

Thurgood Marshall had it right:
“History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.”

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 5, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks! Fancy meeting ya'll here! :)

Greg, GREAT job and congrats again on everything!

I'm going to kick off my first post on the new PL with some good jobs news:

*Private sector adds 32,000 jobs in April: ADP*

Treasury official sees signs of sustained labor market improvement

The job market is looking up, according to a report on the U.S. private sector released on Wednesday, and a separate analysis by the Treasury Department's top economist.

Companies in the U.S. private sector added 32,000 jobs in April, according to the ADP employment report released Wednesday.

The report, coming two days before the Labor Department reports on changes in the nation's nonfarm payrolls for April, added to the sense that there would be a sizable increase in jobs.

Economists are expecting a 185,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls. It would be the biggest gain in three years.


Employment in the service-providing sector in April rose by 50,000, and employment in factories rose 29,000.

The goods-producing sector declined 24,000.

Medium-sized businesses saw employment rise by 17,000. Large firms added 14,000, and small firms had a slim 1,000 increase.

Also Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the service sector held steady at 55.4 in April from the prior month, a level that implies ongoing growth.


Yes. Yes we can!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 5, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@Greg...Congrats on the new platform. I notice it gave some of us sock puppets when we re-registered. :-) I thought perhaps there were already six prior posters who wanted my name.

I love the preview. I know you are working out the details so here are my two cents...
I agree 100% with BG about size of comments...but then I'm an old fart who wears glasses...I also agree with BG after checking out balloon juice that their comment section is as readable as any I've seen.

I share lmsinca's frustration at losing "live" hyperlinks. We are all uber lazy in cyberspace and it is a bit of a pita to have to copy cut and paste in a new browzer. That was one of the very nice things in the old platform...simply clicking links.

I'm sure you'll work things out..good luck with the new platform.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 5, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. Joe Lieberman's new proposal to strip the citizenship of those who are involved with terror groups."

We had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it.

And to think that the Dems nominated this guy for Vice-President. Good grief!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 5, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

All, some sleazy stuff going on in the Arkansas Senate race:

And Gasman, let me try to figure out what the deal is with the censoring thing.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 5, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

ruk, you get your hands on Matterhorn yet?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 5, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Those two, LIeberman in particular, might do well to shut their ugly mouths.

It's become sickening, their constant denigration of anything Muslim or Islam.
You'd think Jews have learned something in Germany, while wearing yellow stars. Apparently now.

What is this, an insidious little campaign to change the subject
....of Wall Street, the Blankfiens and Madoffs of the world, the GOldman Sachs
types? And the constant yeling, STILL, for bombing Iran.

Those sick of the dual loyalists, the Israel firsters and all the problems they've brought, won't be delighted.

Lieberman, especially, is often called the senator from Israel...WaPo in particular prints it several times a day.

Why don't they think it willl backfire, as it always has.

Posted by: whistling | May 5, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse


As I have mentioned in the past, I work for a multi-national manufacturer of industrial equipment. We saw a huge spike in orders in February & March to the point where we started to recall some laid off staff in mid-April. And they tell us more will be coming back over the next 6 weeks, most likely.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Given the imposition of the Patriot Act, the warrantless spying on Americans, the torture, and the ongoing existence of Gitmo and Bagram, coupled with the fact that the media gives any credence to a proposal that is blatantly unconstitutional and unworkable, it seems to me that the terrorists have already won. What we once knew as America is no more, and has been replaced by a land of fear, suspicion, constant war and corporate rule. Bin laden, if still alive, must be sitting in his luxury cave in Pakistan just laughing at his success.

Posted by: pblotto | May 5, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I used to frequent K-zoo when I lived in Hoosierland. A luthier friend of mine used to have a shop there when Gibson still had a presence in Kalamazoo. He used to do some of the high end custom work for them. Congrats to Kalamazoo for your high school's big coup.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 5, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Gas, K'zoo also now has one of the very best breweries in the country: Bells.

A fun town to visit.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 5, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Really? would this include Cuban exile terrorists in Miami such as Orlando Bosch, who was involved in the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including members of the Cuban national fencing team. He was pardoned in 1992 by the elder Bush.

Would it include American supporters of radical Zionists on the West Bank? IRA supporters etc. Lieberman as usual opens mouth before mind is in gear.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | May 5, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

don't any of you stenographers at the wapoop ever wonder why joezoe torturman wants to destroy the constitution ???

joezoe tortureman took an oath to defend the constitution, and the constitution says that a person is innocent until proven guilty

now, joezoe tortureman wants to end all of our constitutional protections

that doesn't sound like defending the constitution

so why not discuss the real story here

Charles Schummer wants to defend and protect the constitution

joezzoe tortureman wants to destroy the constitution

can't you idiot stenographers figure that out ???

and while we're on the subject, why not strip joezoe tortureman of HIS citizenship, for gross malfeasance and plain stupidity

Posted by: nada85484 | May 5, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Sue, that's great. I wish your company much luck. Especially given what I know about the economy in MI. I really feel for you guys. Keep the good news comin'! :)

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 5, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

["Lieberman's proposal is designed to strip citizenship from terror suspects in order to make it possible to sidestep the need to Mirandize them. Lieberman has sided with Republicans on the Miranda question."]

Anyone who believes this load, which now includes Lieberman and most of the GOP, is a moron. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say, "These rights are only granted to citizens." The government is obliged to respect *everyone's* rights, whether citizen or not.

Though really, it doesn't surprise me that most of the people who claim to be against big, abusive government are so eager to do this. They're only against government that abuses them personally. Anyone else can go take a leap for all they care.

Posted by: edta | May 5, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

On another post I saw an interesting observation. Herr Liebermann is an orthodox Jew one generation removed from the Holocaust. He is now advocating one of the tactics that the Nazis used against the Jews, removing rights on mere suspicion. The mind kind of boggles.

Another person wondered if this move of his was to garner more attention or to continue to delay the financial regulation process in order to protect his buddies. I suspect it is both.

Posted by: dkmjr | May 5, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

honeyman and Gasman had it right. Reading or not reading a guy his rights doesn't alter anything except that with the latter, anything he says is inadmissible in court.

Greg, It would be nice to have a "reply" function, but WaPo doesn't do that. There are a lot of other things that they don't do, but now isn't the time to go into that.

Posted by: dkmjr | May 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Joey Lieb's does not propose to "strip the citizenship of those who are involved with terror groups". Rather, he proposes to strip the citizenship of those who are alleged to be involved with terror groups. This is a significant difference.

Posted by: washpost7 | May 5, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne: "... shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality ..."

The point you are missing is where it says "with the intention". One does not automatically lose one's citizenship by performing any of the listed acts. One has to specifically intend to give up his or her US citizenship. If simply performing one of the listed acts brought about loss of citizenship then all persons with dual US-whatever citizenship would automatically forfeit their citizenship.

In any case, the Supreme Court has held (Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 [1967]) that a citizen, whether native-born or naturalized, cannot be deprived of his or her citizenship involuntarily.

Posted by: Frankly_my_dear | May 5, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever noticed how Joe Lieberman sounds constipated when he talks?

Posted by: americareal | May 5, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Joe Liberman seems to just want to hog the spotlight in any outrageous way that he can. He certainly doesn't care for the constitution.

Joe there is someone holding a seat for you at the tea party. Have a prune danish and check into a home. Perhaps you and your buddy John McCain could find a nice one in AZ. They could play golf making sure they had their ids with them.

Posted by: GoldStarMom1 | May 5, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

OMG someone who is another US citizen might At This Very! Moment! be having their Miranda Rights read to them Aiee! Oh Teh Horror! Won't someone think of The Children in the name of Sweet Baby Jeezus! *sob* Why did they ever include this travesty of justice Commie Liberal America-hating individual liberties language in the US Constitution anyway?

Posted by: seraphina2 | May 6, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for that citation. It answers many questions. Most importantly, what Lieberman is proposing is unconstitutional. Terrorism has become the new War on Drugs: the erosion of Americans' Constitutional rights and values in exchange for counterproductive, feel-good laws. Demagoguery at its worst.

Lieberman. Ben Nelson. Landrieu. Lincoln. They are a cancer on the Democratic Party. Since the Democrats are the only present hope for the nation (so long as the GOP continues its descent into insanity), these phony Democrats are even more destructive than otherwise. Real American leaders have to step forward and defend the Constitution (the real Constitution, not the one rattling around Glen Beck's syphilitic brain).

To Sens. Whitehouse, Brown, Sanders, Franken, etc.. O-Man can't do it all himself. Step up and be counted. Stand up for American values. Stand up for the Constitution.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 6, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

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