Do Terror Trials Belong in Civilian Court?

Supporters say they’re best equipped and proven; doubters cite security and cost.

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A White House plan to try suspected 9/11 terrorists in New York City, since rethought, raised anew questions about the rights of the accused vs. national security needs. Is handling terrorism cases in the U.S. criminal justice system in America’s best interests?
Edited by Steve St. Angelo


By Anthony D. Romero
Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union

The way some people are carrying on these days about the Obama administration’s decision to handle would-be Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal justice system, you’d think the Constitution was a new document they weren’t used to yet. Or that applying it was optional. Or that it hasn’t been used over and over again for suspected terrorists...



By Louie Gohmert
Republican congressman from Texas; served in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Trial of the suspected 9/11 coconspirators has brought forth cries that “everyone should have the same rights under our Constitution.” They misunderstand the Constitution. It guarantees due process, but that grants different rights in different settings. The burden of proof in criminal cases is quite different from that in civil cases, though the latter may result in the loss of major assets. Respondents in...


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