Law enforcement officials announced yesterday that Maj. Nidal M. Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder in the brutal attacks at Fort Hood Army base. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that “the number one issue, I think right now, is that Major Hasan be brought to justice.”
Last night on Fox News, Bill Kristol called Napolitano’s comment “stupid” and stated outright that there should be no trial:
KRISTOL: I was very struck also by Janet Napolitano’s comment, I hadn’t read it before to see her say that, that the number one priority is to bring him to justice is such a knee-jerk comment and such a stupid comment. He’s going to be brought to justice. He is not going to be innocent of murder. There are a lot of eyewitnesses to that. They should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death.
Apparently, Kristol is not a huge believer in the Constitution, the Sixth Amendment of which states that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”
GALLIGAN: I fully appreciate the importance of ensuring that everybody has a fair trial. I think that’s particularly important when it applies to anyone in uniform, officer or enlisted. Their profession is to defend us. We owe it to them as either fellow service members or as U.S. citizens to ensure that we properly defend them. The rights that I’m asking be accorded to Major Hasan are the rights that service members live and die for. Let’s just make sure we don’t deprive them in his case.
As Adam Serwer at TAPPED noted of those espousing Kristol’s view, “This is Salem Witch Trial justice: If the crime is heinous, the accused is automatically guilty. That the evidence may be overwhelming doesn’t matter: You don’t just ‘skip’ a fair trial because you feel like it. There’s a word for systems of justice that selectively afford due process — that word is ‘corrupt.’”