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As much as I like Colbert, I am pretty sure that this means we are probably about due for some Visigoths to sack Washington.

But at least it’s funny.

I don’t really care about Rand Paul’s heart of hearts, but I do wonder if the acrobatic tap dance some people do about wondering whether he’s really a racist or just advocating a return to Jim Crow that happens to have racist effects would survive if the questions were put in the following way:

Should your tax dollars be used to pay police to remove people from private businesses solely because the proprietor doesn’t like the color of their skin?

I imagine it would be like one of those push polls where you get different results based on whether you say pro-life or anti-choice or what have you.  But even if it didn’t, it would belie a feature that often is overlooked; this whole debate is not one between those who would prefer a society free of state interference* versus those who think that some state interference is warranted, but a debate over what kinds of rights should have priority.

The libertarian answer in this instance is that property rights trump civil rights, and that the state should prioritize enforcing those.

*If I were a libertarian, romantic appeals to the past would bother me because it would imply that America had already implemented my vision, and decided that it was bad.

So Lieberman is a monster.

But logistically, how is this thing supposed to work?  The state accuses someone of terrorism.   If the state waits until after he is convicted, then stripping him of his citizenship is a novel punishment, but not one that would affect how the trial proceeds or the rights the accused would have until the trial.  (And it creates more problems, too; what do you do with a stateless terrorist?  Start deportation proceedings after prison?  Where to?)

If the state doesn’t wait, then the mere suspicion of terrorism is enough to… start legal proceedings to remove someone’s citizenship… so he can… be tried without constitutional protections?   Taken away to be tortured because the magical Miranda fairy dust makes it impossible to interrogate the guy or get him to confess?  (Both of which happened with the Miracle-Gro bomber, here, but let’s not confuse the issue with the facts.) I’m assuming that’s the line of thinking here.

We’re supposed to start years of legal proceedings to remove someone’s citizenship (because of course Lieberman isn’t suggesting something as stupid as revoking citizenship based on an indictment, right?  Right?) so we then know how to proceed with the investigation?  And that’s supposed to help us get more information faster all like Jack Bauer in minute 59 of the hour?

Here’s what the law is now. Note the little clause in §1481(a).  I suspect that one could commit treason and be executed a citizen.

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