Shorter Lindsey Graham: Constitution? What Constitution?

The South Carolina senator wants Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, an American citizen, to be held as an enemy combatant.
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Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, sent these two fascinating tweets this afternoon:

This is pretty breathtaking. Graham (no relation) is suggesting that an American citizen, captured on American soil, should be deprived of basic constitutional rights.

Keep in mind that Graham isn't just an angry citizen; he's not even just a U.S. senator. He is also a trained lawyer, a colonel in Air Force Reserve, and a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps, the legal arm of the Air Force.

In fairness, the senator is consistent. "It has been the law of the United States for decades that an American citizen on our soil who collaborates with the enemy has committed an act of war and will be held under the law of war, not domestic criminal law," he said in 2011. But that was in the context of Americans collaborating with al-Qaeda, a link that hasn't been drawn here. Graham also lamented to the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin that there wasn't a drone tracking the suspect.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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