Still No Due Process

People often argue when I point out that the Republican and Democratic parties are the same. After the San Bernardino shooting the Democrats rekindled calls to ban people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms. The Republican Party, hoping to prove it’s the opposite of the Democratic Party, proposed the same thing with a minor, and entirely irrelevant, difference:

What’s been lost in the debate is the fact that Republicans have an alternative to the Democratic proposal. Under Republican legislation sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, the federal government may delay the sale of a firearm to someone on the watch list for up to 72 hours. During that time, if the government can show a judge there’s “probable cause”–the same legal standard used to obtain a search warrant–that the individual is plotting terrorism, then the gun sale is denied outright. The measure received 55 votes in the Senate. It it secured the backing of staunch conservatives like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Marco Rubio as well as moderate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly. The only Republican to oppose it was Mark Kirk.

Since there appears to be some confusion of what due process entails I will give an outline. Due process, on a very high conceptual level, first requires an accusation to be made based on credible evidence. After the accusation has been made an impartial body must be assembled. In front of this body the accuser must present their justification for the accusation and the accused must be given an opportunity to defend themselves against the accusations. Finally the impartial body, based on the arguments of the accuser and accused, must make a decision on whether the accusation is true. Unless that entire process is met due process is nonexistent.

Probable cause as you can see is not due process. Under the Republican Party’s scheme the accused isn’t given an opportunity to defend themselves nor is the final decision made by an impartial body that has heard both the accuser’s and accused’s arguments. Instead a secret government list is used to initially delay the purchase so another government employee, a judge, can order the purchase permanently barred. And make no mistake, any judge who has such a decision brought before them will almost certainly approve the ban because they don’t want to risk being the judge who approved the purchase of a firearm by a terrorist (this is called covering your ass).

The fact neither party has made a proposal that involves actual due process just demonstrates there isn’t a lick of difference between them. Both of parties are fascist parties.