Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Candidates and the Sixth Amendment

This is the sixth post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) views pertaining to the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This amendment follows up on the Fifth nicely and discusses criminal trials.

Here's the text:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Another sort of "kitchen sink". We've got speedy and public trials, impartial juries, facing accusers, providing witnesses, knowing what the charges are, and defense counsel.

As usual, we'll look at Barack Obama first.

Ok, I'll be honest. I can't find anything on Barack Obama with respect to any part of the Sixth Amendment except in relation to the Guantanamo detainees. He appears to be in favor of providing Sixth Amendment protection to the detainees.

And now to John McCain.

I can't find anything on him either. If you search "john mccain" and "sixth amendment" or "trial by jury" using your favorite search engine, you'll get a few hits, only to discover that those are just pages that happen to have both of those items mentioned. Once again, he was opposed to providing Sixth Amendment protection to the detainess.

You'll notice that I once again added in how the candidates feel about rights for enemy combatants. However, I will once again, be ignoring those feelings when assigning grades. I feel that rights granted to enemy combatants are at best peripheral to the discussion of American citizens rights.

Grades?

Obama: A+

McCain: A+

Sixth Amendment: No Advantage

UPDATE: Grades lowered per this post.

Results so far:

Obama McCain
First Amendment* F
D-
Second Amendment D- C-
Third Amendment B B
Fourth Amendment D+ D+
Fifth Amendment D+ B-
Sixth Amendment B B

* Obama's First Amendment grade lowered as documented in this post.


UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

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