"To declare that in the administration of criminal law
the end justifies the means -- to declare that
the Government may commit crimes in order to secure
conviction of a private criminal -- would bring
terrible retribution."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis
(1856-1941) US Supreme Court Justice
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Reader comments about this quote:
The Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay come to mind -- among many others!
 -- E Archer, NYC     
    There are 2 classifications of statutes concerning criminal law, 'directory', and 'mandatory'. 'Directory' is when no harm is perpetrated upon a person or property and society's direction is set forth in definitive writing. No punishment is affixed. A posted speed limit would be an example. 'Mandatory' is when harm is perpetrated upon a person or property, and a consequence, punishment or penalty is affixed thereto. Administering 'mandatory' penalties on 'directory' persuasions declares that the end justifies the means and Government may commit crimes too... Such administration of criminal law does bring terrible retribution. Archer's examples are right on.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    The Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay has absolutely NOTHING to do with "private criminal" behavior. They deal with National Security and National Defense. This quote has NOTHING to do with the prosecution of Islamic terrorists, they are engaged in a truly illegal war, and NOT criminal behavior. Archer and Mike you are complete out of the realm of reality (tin foil hat material actually) with your posts, as was the former first philanderer who treated the 1993 WTC bombing in this manner, and thus gave a 911.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay have to do with enemy combatants and terrorist surveillance not criminal law. If we make those people citizens ahead of the legitimate people seeking citizenship we on a quick road to destruction.
     -- warren giese, olathe     
    helorat and warren your points are well taken, there is a difference between military and private crimes; but, you have to remember unless the statute doesn't declare it a crime, it's not a crime. This nation was founded on a different set of moralities and legal jurisprudence than other countries. If we abandon our foundational standards and do to our enemies as our enemies do to us we lose that which made us great and we become no better than they. Beyond the narrow view of criminal activity as defined by statute, we as a people united must not act with a criminal morality in the broadest sense, which is I believe, in harmony with the Justice's statement. AND, to further show how screwed up our judicial system is: they are placing civil penalties to 'directory' declarations.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    This government can commit the most hideous crimes and yet there seems no one or system that can prevents this travesty - the present leadershisp should all be in prison - lies, lies and more lies.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    FBI field instruction manuals tell agents to focus extra "attention" on citizens that mention their "rights" and talk about the "Constitution" these people are considered the enemy among the agents. Whatever you say the KGB ,Gestapo, SIDI, they are to control the citizens not to enforce the Law of the Land...their oath to the Constitution is a fraud and treason against the people.
     -- Patrick Henry, DC     
    Sorry to remind you folks but the inalienable rights outlined in the Constitution apply to EVERYONE including foreigners. 'Enemy combatants' are merely anyone who opposes US government policy -- many folks have been arrested with the new powers of the Patriot Act and usually for expressing dissent or claiming their rights. Also, contrary to what is broadcast night and day, America is not at war. Yes, US military has been used to bomb and invade foreign nations (most of whom have never attacked us) but it is not a lawful 'war'. If the president wants to send our patriotic men and women to kill and be killed, they first need the permission of the People via their Congress via a declaration of war as per the Constitution. That we have not done, and thus, Congress has no power to manage it. What irks me is that the type of person that goes to fight in foreign lands to preserve freedom at home would be the first to defend the 'homeland' if they were here. Instead they are far away fighting an illegal war while the government takes away the very freedoms our soldiers are supposed to be defending. Anyone that believes that taking away basic rights to due process, travel, privacy, property, speech, arms, has got to be a bonified drone of the propaganda machine. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy -- a war against terrorism is oxymoronic -- it can't be fought and it can't be won. To 'terrorize' people is to instill fear in them -- as far as I can tell, the media and the politicians are instilling more terror daily than the bombers do once every few years. And for you Christians out there who 'know' that the islamists are 'gonna git us' how about a little Christian forbearance. More people have died in religious wars than all wars put together. Why do we stoop to their level? Just leave those crazy Muslims to themselves. But we can't because the REAL truth is that Bush, Inc. wanted that oil and got that oil -- even once the troops withdraw, that oil is theirs for good. Plus the billions given to defense contractors to wage this 'war' has put billions and billions of dollars into the hands of those that are taking the rights away from Americans. So, get a grip and wake up.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Archer your posts are incredibly vacuous, the Barbary wars were prosecuted by Jefferson without a declaration. There is no where in the Constitution that say you must declare war to engage in it. The President needs no permission from anyone to deploy US Forces in combat. Enemy combatants have never received nor deserved the right of citizens or visitors in any country in history including this one (until these days of the AntiChristianLawyersUnion America destroyers). Your opening sentence is ludicrous at best. I am so sick of this idiotic illegal war BS! You are a fool and an AH if you believe that. If you believe the war is illegal then you must also believe all the military are criminals (there is no rquirement to accept an illegal order) (it is not btw, the first violation by Saddam of the Gulf War I cease fire agreement 3 months after it was signed, not to mention the 163 subsequent ones, was adequate to resume hostilities). Americans want the oil (you too, our economy runs on it), protecting trade is the most common reason for war (go back to those Barbary Wars again). And stop with that religious wars have killed more people then all wars put together. It is incredibly stupid and ignorant. WWII, WWI, US Civil War, Franco Prussian war, Napoleonic wars, Wars of Genghis Khan and subsequent Mongols/Tartars, most Chinese wars, Roman Wars through 4th cenurty AD, Alexandrian and Successor wars...that is an easy off the cuff list,none religious, do some math and get your head where is can get some sunshine.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    Hmm, let's see -- how many Jews were killed in Europe and Russia? How many indians were killed by Catholics in the Americas? How many Buddhists were killed by the Maoists? How many Muslims and Hindus have been killed in their religious conflicts? Ever hear of the Crusades? How many have died and are dying every day in Israel due to religious hatred -- and is not the conflict in the Middle East religious in nature -- to protect the Jews in Israel? helorat your take on history is selective at best. The arguments made for killing Muslims are the same as those made by Hitler and the battles for the Ottoman empire. Religious fundamentalism is usually behind the most horrific genocides in history -- and the news every night is designed to get us all to scream "bomb 'em, bomb 'em". Soon you will tell us that the Patriot Act protects American freedoms -- except those of course that have been taken away -- but what good is trial by jury or habeas corpus or warrants -- trifling inconveniences, I suppose.

    As far as presidents doing whatever they want with the military, I consider this quote:

    "No power but Congress can declare war, but what is the value of this constitutional provision, if the President of his own authority may make such military movements as must bring on war?"
    -- Daniel Webster

    If the Constitution is not to be defended, I don't want the government that replaces it. "Live free or die" not "Do as you're told and you won't get hurt."
     -- E Archer, NYC     

    Religion like all things can and is perverted by man and used to meet his own purposes. We obviously were trying to "leave the crazy Muslims to themselves" Ignoring the repetitive attacks they have made against us for years. There comes a time when you have no choice. If there was no oil there the wealth that funds terrorism would not be there either and we could just ignore them. To give places like Iraq the opportunity to have freedom in this area is the first step in defusing the whole problem. The other nations surrounding Iraq may have a hard time denying their people freedom if they see it is possible to have it. This is the only course we have to ultimately remove the threat with out doing the unthinkable.
     -- warren, olathe     
    A man here in Austin got 25 years in prison because the prosecutor hid evidence that would have proved he was innocent. He later became a judge and this information became public and he was charged with withholding evidence. He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days in jail of which he served 5 and was released early for good behavior. He did lose his law license and has to do about 300 hours of community service. Five days in jail, my, how the good old boys protect themselves.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    If that is the case, Warren, then put it to the American people via their Congress and declare war on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or whomever. THAT is the LAW and it is there for a reason. And what about warrantless searches, no habeas corpus, and indefinite detention -- how does this secure us from 'terrorists'? Common people are being intimidated with being charged as terrorists for questioning a police officer while conducting warrantless searches. Who decides an 'enemy combatant'? Isn't that simply convicting someone without trial? I'm not talking about in a military action on a battlefield, I'm talking about here in America, unless now it's all a battlefield and all are suspects first and forever. The ends should NOT justify the means -- the means ARE the end for the police state, and that is what we have become.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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