The Corner

Criminalizing the Opposition

Senator Leahy is holding his hearing today on his proposal to hold a series of show trials (oops sorry, a “Truth Commission”) on the Bush administration’s policies on terrorist detainees and other such matters. I wrote about it over at Politico yesterday. In essence, this is a push to criminalize his political opponents’ views on public policy and how to fight the war on terror. It is more reminiscent of a third-world banana republic than the United States of America. It reminds me of something Joseph Stalin was quoted as having said about education — that it is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. To paraphrase Stalin, which seems most appropriate on this subject, this commission would be held in the hands of the radical Left and we know at whom it would be aimed. The intended effect is to provide a showcase for their inflammatory claims, polemical rhetoric, and predetermined judgments — and to intimidate anyone who could possibly disagree with the hard Left in the future on any of these issues.

— Hans A. von Spakovsky is a visiting legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He is also a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice.

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