by Max Brantley
Will extremism hunt in an Arkansas election? The DSCC is rolling it out in support of Sen. Mark Pryor, typically knocked for his mushy middlist approach.
Extreme Ideologue Tom Cotton Tries to Eliminate Due Process For Family Members Of Accused
Tom Cotton is clearly wasting no time trying to push his extreme right wing agenda through Congress. Yesterday, Cotton introduced an amendment to “automatically” institute severe penalties on extended families, including nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren, of people accused of violating U.S. sanctions against the Iranian government.
Cotton’s legislation would completely disregard American citizens’ due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment. In the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Cotton said, “there would be no investigation,” before inflicting harsh punishments of up to 20 year prison sentences upon "parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids" of those accused of violating sanctions against Iran.
“To call Tom Cotton an extreme ideologue is not overstating anything,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “He is proposing legislation that would eliminate the constitutional right to due process for grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Americans accused of a crime.”
Polls show that a majority of Americans view the Republican party as extreme, but the legislation was even too far right for Cotton’s House Republican colleagues, who ultimately forced him to withdraw the amendmen
It ain't just politics if it's true.
Republicans just aren't so hot on constitutional protections except those they find, without limit, in Amendment Two.
Also today, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus was quoted as saying innocent people don't plead the Fifth Amendment. This the very amendment Cotton proposed to stomp on with his guilty-by-relationship idea.
Cotton's craziness is going viral. This one notes when he didn't include 9/11 in terrorist attacks on George W. Bush's watch, but didn't get around to his opposition to aid for storm victims.
UPDATE: I gather Cotton is feeling the sting. I had a rare communication from his office. Points made:
1) Offering an amendment to legislation is not legislation. I differ; at a minimum it's a distinction with no practical difference.
2) It was withdrawn. All have noted this. It's the thought that counts.
3) The penalties he proposed would be financial and travel, not jail. I thought Republicans held property to be sanctified above just about everything. Taking money by force of law sounds pretty severe to me. Sounds a lot like a "fine."
4) Constitutional points aren't relevant because he would punish only non-citizens. Yes, but our courts have held the Fifth Amendment protections can apply to non-citizens.