Some Teapublican leaders are calling for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be treated as an “enemy combatant”, removing him from our traditional justice system and subjecting him to a military tribunal. Although this may be tempting to some, it is the slipperiest of slippery slopes.
Tsarnaev is an American citizen. He has the same right to a trial by jury as other accused terrorists and murderers, such as Timothy McVeigh and Jared Loughner. To treat him otherwise is to say that some American citizens are worthy of trial by a jury of their peers, and that other American citizens are undeserving of their constitutional rights.
This is the ultimate class warfare.
If we are to start down that path with Tsarnaev, where do we stop? Should all those accused of mass murder be denied a jury trial? Should jury trials be reserved only for natural born citizens? Should all naturalized citizens accused of crimes be turned over to the military?
The very act of declaring Tsarnaev an “enemy combatant” would undermine the bedrock of our justice system – that all citizens are equal, and that all citizens are innocent until proven guilty.