November 21, 2001 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Ashcroft gets a double kick in the groin. It really heartens me to see this. I'm all for finding those responsible, but not at the cost of the Constitution and civil rights. How long before all of the state of Oregon is charged with terrorrism and brought before Bush's special tribunal?
posted by jammer (30 comments total)
I was just coming here to post this with the OregonLive link. I feel really proud of my town right now, especially since the Portland Police Department has made numerous high-profile gaffs over the last couple years. I'm just crossing my fingers that they don't capitulate.

This guy is a knob:
"Michael Mosman, the U.S. attorney for Oregon, said he wasn't concerned about the Police Bureau's decision and that other law enforcement agencies in the state "are more than willing to help." He added that he is confident the plan doesn't violate any state or federal laws."
posted by amanda at 9:19 AM on November 21, 2001

Yes, three cheers for Portland / Oregon. Sometimes we can be damn backwards, other times we're amazingly progressive.

Although I do find it funny that the typical liberal and conservative position on states' rights has flip-flopped on the Death with Dignity issue.
posted by billder at 9:28 AM on November 21, 2001

Would it be mean-spirited of me to wish that Ashcroft would get a real kick in the groin? I guess probably so.
posted by owen at 9:33 AM on November 21, 2001

No, not at all. I've been wishing for worse than that for him. But I'm probably too bitter. I tend to take an ill view of people shredding the Constitution, and he's been doing it better than anyone recently, even the gun-grabbers. ;)
posted by jammer at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2001

Oregon is looking like an awfully good place to live right about now.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2001

I miss Oregon.
posted by Kikkoman at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2001

"Would it be mean-spirited of me to wish that Ashcroft would get a real kick in the groin?"

"The line starts here."
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:29 AM on November 21, 2001

Wow, civil rights being upheld in a time of newspeak and doublethink.

I'm suprised.
posted by trioperative at 10:35 AM on November 21, 2001

This almost makes up for the embarrasment of having the Trail Babies in our state. . .*smile*

We also have her, and him, and them, so we can't get TOO cheeky.

But yes, a proud day for Oregon.
posted by Danf at 10:45 AM on November 21, 2001

Yeh, I was hopping that he had gotten a real kick to the groin, and that the attacker had gotten away (ie "I'm all for finding those responsible" for kicking him in the groin)

I find the language of the police guy strange, though. They can't "interview" anyone not suspected of being a criminal? I don't see the harm in just talking to someone, as long as they arn't unlawfully detained. I mean, how do they hire new cops?
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on November 21, 2001

This makes me incredibly proud to be a Portlander today. With all the horrible mistakes the police force has made in the past few years, perhaps this marks a turning point in how they will relate to the minority communities.
posted by calistasm at 11:17 AM on November 21, 2001

Danf: don't forget the Portland Fire of the WNBA!
posted by Carol Anne at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2001

Ha! I'm sure they're not "interviewing" anyone who's not suspected of being a criminal. As a Portlander and being of less than white persuasion I can't really jump on the rah rah bus on this one.

Oh yeah, and way to pull in the tribunals into the post...I'm sure that will happen too.
posted by nwduffer at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2001

I hope my Oregon homies will remember the words and spirit of our finest Governor, Tom McCall:"Come and visit, but don't come here to live." The two coolest things about here are NO SALES TAX, and its known as THE BEAVER STATE. A couple more facts.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2001

Does anyone else find it odd that local police are the ones who are supposed to interview these men? Do local police have the training to conduct interviews with National Security implications?
posted by cell divide at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2001

I hate to interrupt this meeting of the Kick Ashcroft In The Nuts Club, but you may want to temper your glee a bit and consider the following:

a) The federal judge's decision is a temporary restraining order. The case will most certainly wind up in the Supreme Court where I wouldn't be at all surprised if the SCOTUS rules in favor of the feds.

b) According to the article, the men in Oregon are going to be interviewed no matter whether the Portland police cooperate with the Justice Dept. or not.
posted by MrBaliHai at 12:59 PM on November 21, 2001

Danf: don't forget the Portland Fire of the WNBA!

But that is something to be PROUD of. . . .specially if Jennie comes back. . .
posted by Danf at 1:01 PM on November 21, 2001

"it's known as the Beaver State"
Ya know, if that's the case, then why aren't I getting any more action?

(cue rimshot)
posted by aramaic at 1:24 PM on November 21, 2001

They can't "interview" anyone not suspected of being a criminal? I don't see the harm in just talking to someone, as long as they arn't unlawfully detained. I mean, how do they hire new cops?

Well, they don't go out on the street to hire new cops. They don't set up a profile and then come and find you and interview you to be a cop now, do they?

What happens if these people don't wish to be interviewed? Is that within their rights? Will they be deported if they decline? They are all here legally. They are being targeted because of their nationality. This just isn't everyday business and I applaud the dept. for refusing to do it (regardless of whether someone else will do it anyway).
posted by amanda at 1:39 PM on November 21, 2001

I'm confused about this law about not interviewing anyone not suspected of being a criminal.

How exactly does Oregon Law Enforcement get around this law to interview witnesses to crimes, or individuals who may have indirect knowledge of crimes? These people clearly aren't suspected of being criminals, yet law enforcement _must_ interview and question them in order to effect proper punishement against criminals. As to whether these individuals have the right to not answer questions - in the world I live in, not cooperating with a criminal investigation is a crime, unless you call upon your 5th ammendment right to not incriminate yourself.

Any answers?
posted by schlyer at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2001

You nailed it, billder.

Note to extremists on the left and right -- pick a side and stick with it. Either you respect the Fed enough to make decisions like this, or you don't.

That said, I'm torn. The right to choice (whether we're talking 1st trimester for your fetus or last years of a painful life) is an important one. Then again, I can't stand to see Ashcroft trample civil liberties like this.

Guess I'll just stand in line to kick him in the groin.
posted by jragon at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2001

This is politically-correct bullshit.

Every alien in the US expressly or impliedly consents to be under government supervision, just as US visitors are under supervision when they are abroad. (Anyone who's lived or studied overseas is surely familiar with registering at your local police station and being regularly required to come in and renew.)

Ashcroft should shift 50 or so FBI agents to the Portland field office so the interviews can be completed faster than they would have been had the local police not shirked their duty. Any Arab or Muslim alien who wants to stay in America should be eager to be interviewed and to document their cooperation with the fight against terror being committed (at least in part) in the name of Islam and Arab nationalism.
posted by MattD at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2001

Go, Portland! (gets more serious about moving back there)
posted by rushmc at 3:11 PM on November 21, 2001

MattD is correct. These are repeatedly stressed as voluntary interviews similar to being asked what you saw at a car accident. I have little doubt that they are not trying to find "terrorists" per se as to find people who may have been approached for terror activity, to build a web of information about the activities of such individuals; and while these persons are residents, entitling them to a number of constitutional protections, they are not full citizens and treating them as such is a courtesy, not a right.

Also, the tribunals would not apply to US citizens, in Portland OR or Portland ME. Whatever their faults, they would be unconstitutional if used to usurp normal protections. I think the same thing applies: treating non-citizens with our entitled constitutional rights is a courtesy, not a right. This is quite aside from other issues such as executive authority to actually order these, for which I expect USSC challenges.
posted by dhartung at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2001

Matt, the law says that they can't interview people without reason. If the law doesn't think that being a foreigner is a good reason, that's the end of the discussion.

Go ahead and call it politcally correct bullshit if you want. Maybe it is. But it's also following state law.
posted by jragon at 3:30 PM on November 21, 2001

The Supremacy Doctrine, a key more-than-200-year-old principal of Constitutional law holds, quite simply, that all state laws and regulations are entirely preempted by contrary national law or regulation, provided that the national law or regulation is not itself in violation of "Federalism" (which is lawyer-speak for the limited sovereign rights of states).

As for "Federalism," the courts have held since at least the civil war that state sovereignty is a nullity with respect to lawful wartime measures -- no state law can have the effect of negating an order or request of the Attorney General made along those lines. And the lawfulness of the order -- the interview of certain aliens -- is simply beyond question.

The Portland Police Department can refuse, but they certainly don't have to do it. To make the point, Ashcroft ought to have Rumsfeld nationalize a few MP companies of the Oregon National Guard and every National Guardsman who is a Portland cop in civilian life, and order them to get it done.
posted by MattD at 6:39 PM on November 21, 2001

The Portland Police Department *has* refused. I'm a native Portlander and I believe they made the right decision. If Ashcroft wants Arabs who live here interviewed, use Feds to do it.

In general, we are a polite, law-abiding people. But when blowhards come in from the outside and try to walk on us (Ashcroft x2 this month), we stand and we fight. We've made just, principled decisions in each case. You disagree with them. That's fine. It's not your city. But here's my advice: don't bet against us.
posted by christophernaze at 9:30 PM on November 21, 2001

MattD -

As for "Federalism," the courts have held since at least the civil war that state sovereignty is a nullity with respect to lawful wartime measures

In the explicit Constitutional sense, we're not actually at war.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:39 AM on November 22, 2001

Police Are Split on Questioning of Mideast Men, from today's NY Times. "Ken Yarbrough, the police chief of Richardson, Texas, a Dallas suburb that is home to one of the oldest mosques in the state, said that officers by law must have reasonable suspicion to question people; without that, he said, such interviews must be consensual. 'There is going to be some heartburn on the part of police chiefs to take on this role because this is not how we usually do business,' he said. The Justice Department has said that the interviews should be consensual, but 'it is when that consent runs out that this problem exists,' Chief Yarbrough said."
posted by Carol Anne at 7:25 AM on November 22, 2001

Well, the Portland Police could always "Roshambo" Ashcroft for the right of refusal. Portland Cops get to demonstrate their sovereignty, Ashcroft gets kicked in the nuts, Optamystic's happy.
posted by Optamystic at 1:53 PM on November 22, 2001

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