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Continued: Tough thing, isn't it, this 'due process'?

  • Article by: D.J. TICE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 3, 2014 - 9:16 AM

But “enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm,” as James Madison warned in the Federalist Papers.

The power of “locking people away for life” is a fearsome thing that must itself be kept in a strong cage built of law and procedure. There is no guarantee that everyone who comes to wield that power will be well-intentioned, much less courageous in the face of the extreme political pressures that can arise from extreme circumstances.

This is where the issues surrounding MSOP bear a resemblance to the controversy over the federal government’s secretive surveillance regime in the war on terror. That too is awesome power that in the wrong hands could be a tool for despotism.

Mark Dayton is no tyrant. Neither is Barack Obama. Neither was George W. Bush. But America’s founders deliberately designed a government that contains no unchecked discretion that could be readily abused should a would-be tyrant ever actually appear at the helm. We should keep it that way.

 

D.J. Tice is at Doug.Tice@startribune.com.

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