June 30, 2007

RICHARD POSNER says that criminal law can’t respond to terrorism:

Judge Posner said the US was “a law-saturated society where even non-lawyers tend to think ofproblems in terms of legal categories”.

“Criminal justice and war are the two responses we have to terrorism. Each comes with its own legal institutions and doctrines and regimes but the struggle against international terrorism doesn’t fit either very well.”

He said it was “quite misplaced” to suggest national security measures in force or contemplated in the US could endanger liberty and undermine the political system. This was because governments could no longer conceal what they did: “We have a very aggressive media and a huge and complex government where many people in the government are quite willing to talk to the press.”

I hope he’s wrong about the threat, but right about the ability of the public to police government overreaching. You can hear our podcast interview with him here.