The case at issue is Michigan v. Jackson, in which the Supreme Court said in 1986 that police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one, unless the attorney is present. The decision applies even to defendants who agree to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.
Anything police learn through such questioning cannot be used against the defendant at trial. The opinion was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the only current justice who was on the court at the time.
The justices could decide as early as Friday whether they want to hear arguments on the issue as they wrestle with an ongoing case from Louisiana that involves police questioning of an indigent defendant that led to a murder confession and a death sentence.
The Justice Department, in a brief signed by Solicitor General Elena Kagan, said the 1986 decision "serves no real purpose" and offers only "meager benefits."
A person's life hangs in the balance. A person sits on death row waiting for the Supreme Court to hear their case. And the Obama administration calls this a right that 'serves no real purpose', and has only 'meager benefit'. This article comes from the AP, so they would never think to ask the prisoner on death row whether he feels this right to be of 'meager benefit' right now.
If you watch any detective shows on TV, and they seem to be on every channel 24/7 these days, you've seen this scene. The police have arrested someone. They have them in for questioning. They are trying every trick they can think of to make the suspect confess. They lie. They lie about what the suspects co-defendants are saying. They lie about the law and the possible penalties. They do everything they can do to get a confession, and only one thing stops them. There's only one thing that scares them. Has the suspect asked for an attorney? If the suspect asks for an attorney, they have to stop questioning until this person, who presumably knows what's going on and would better question the police tricks, comes into the room.
Obama wants to take away that right. Obama thinks that if you are arrested, you should be allowed to be questioned without an attorney present, even if you've already asked for one. Obama's administration calls this a right with 'no real purpose' and 'meager benefits.'
The Democrats are very dangerous when in power, because they will do things that the Republicans could never get away with. Suddenly, all the 'liberals' support the most fascist, police-state type of laws because they 'support their President'.
I have a fundamental belief that the best thing that any American citizen can do is to leave MORE rights for the following generations. If you want to tell me about a "greatest generation", to me it would be a generation that leaves more rights for the generations to follow. It would be a generation that expands liberty in this land.
Its been a long time since I've seen liberty expanded in this country. Our rights always seem to shrink. We are constantly being told that we must give up this right or that right. To me, that means we are failing in the duty we have as American citizens. Our ancestors passed us a torch of liberty. Instead of using it to light other torches that spread the light of liberty, we are letting it slowly burn out on our watch.
PS ... if you follow the link to the article, note the mention in it for the Southern Center for Human Rights. That's a great little crew of people in Atlanta, who mainly do a lot of fighting in death penalty cases. But they also do little things as well. For instance, I'll never forget the day I was being hassled by the APD during the aftermath of an antiwar protest at the start of the Iraq war. A vigil was being held outside the jail for those arrested during the protest, and the cops were out harassing everyone outside the jail. That is, until the lawyer from SCHR showed up.
If you know the feeling of relief of having a friendly lawyer appear when you are being harassed by the police, then you understand the importance of this right that Obama wants to take away.