McCain on Shahzad: No Miranda Rights? Really?

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) continued his slow, shameful slide into political madness and legal contempt Tuesday when he declared that it would be a "serious mistake" for law enforcement officials to give a timely Miranda warning to an American citizen arrested in the United States for a domestic crime.

In reaching his unfortunate and premature conclusion, it's likely the senator was helped along by the fact that the citizen in question, Times Square car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad, was naturalized just 54 weeks ago, is of Pakistani descent and was being investigated for foreign links. Evidently you can offer to trample upon the constitutional rights of a guy like that much more easily than you can the average Arizona voter. And of course there is a generally-supported "public safety" exception to the Miranda rule which federal officials chose to invoke for a period here before eventually reading Shahzad his rights.

Still, I would like to hear a fuller explanation from Sen. McCain about how far to the right he stands on Miranda from where once stood arch-conservative William Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice of the United States, who after a lifetime of conflict with the warning eventually came to tolerate and, ultimately, save it from extinction.  

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Andrew Cohen is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, 60 Minutes' first-ever legal analyst, and a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. He is also chief analyst for CBS Radio News and has won a Murrow Award as one of the nation's leading legal journalists. More

Cohen is the winner of the American Bar Association’s 2012 Silver Gavel Award for his Atlantic commentary about the death penalty in America and the winner of the Humane Society’s 2012 Genesis Award for his coverage of the plight of America’s wild horses. A racehorse owner and breeder, Cohen also is a two-time winner of both the John Hervey and O’Brien Awards for distinguished commentary about horse racing.

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