On Your World, Neil Cavuto suggested that the British have "been pragmatic" in their efforts to combat terrorism and that they have enacted some counterterrorism laws that would be unconstitutional in the United States because the British "have a tradition of wanting to live."
Discussing the balance between civil liberties and security during the August 22 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto suggested that the British have "been pragmatic" in their efforts to combat terrorism, adding that they have enacted some counterterrorism laws that would be unconstitutional in the United States because the British "have a tradition of wanting to live." Cavuto made his comment in response to Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano's explanation that the United Kingdom can enact strict counterterrorism measures because "the British don't have a constitution" but instead "have a tradition that allows their legislature to rewrite the tradition." Earlier in the segment, Cavuto had responded to Napolitano's claim that "it would be bitterly ironic ... if in the name of national defense, we had to give up the very freedoms that make the nation worth defending," by asking: "But would you risk losing some of those freedoms or having them curbed if you could live?" Referring to the United Kingdom's "Terrorism Act 2006," which allows the British government to detain terror suspects for up to 28 days without charge, Cavuto asserted that Britons "put up with sometimes aimlessly going to jail for no reason because the greater good is protecting the greater amount of people."
From the August 22 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Do Americans have to give up a certain amount of privacy in order to secure their safety in this age of terrorism or whether on a plane or below? Well, you bet. That was according to two former Reagan and Bush administration officials I spoke with only yesterday on this program. But Fox News' senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitano, heard what they said, was throwing things at the TV while they were saying it, and said: "Cavuto, I want to get on to refute." Refute.
NAPOLITANO: Well, look. It would be bitterly ironic, Neil, if in the name of national defense, we had to give up the very freedoms that make the nation worth defending. The Constitution is not a suicide pact. The Constitution gives the government leeway. The Congress has written laws that give the government leeway. But the basic floor of civil liberties -- of guaranteed liberties -- has to be maintained in time of war, in time of peace. That's not me; that's at least four or five dozen Supreme Court decisions written from 1803 to 2006.
CAVUTO: But would you risk losing some of those freedoms or having them curbed if you could live?
NAPOLITANO: I would not want to live as a slave. The idea of defending America means defending our values. I don't live here and I don't think you live here because of the real estate. We live here because of the freedom that enabled us to develop the real estate --
CAVUTO: But you also have to be --
NAPOLITANO: -- and the other creature comforts that we have.
CAVUTO: Be a realist too, right, Judge? I mean there are some things that we have to be a little bit more flexible on because people want to kill us.
NAPOLITANO: Agreed. And that's why the Congress has written something like the FISA law, Foreign Intelligence Security [sic] Act which says to the president, "If they're bad guys and they're foreigners and you want to listen to them, go get a warrant. The court sits 24/7. There are many judges and many clerks. There's no waiting, Mr. President."
CAVUTO: But time's a wasting.
NAPOLITANO: "If it's an emergency, Mr. President, we'll allow you to tap the lines first and give you three days to go get a warrant."
CAVUTO: But what if you don't have the time even to do that? You are following a network of chatter, of people who are sending funds back and forth.
NAPOLITANO: Then the Congress should provide for more judges and more FISA courts so that time is not the issue. If you're talking about time versus security, American -- the American people will always give up a little bit of time for security.
CAVUTO: Well, the British are apparently pragmatic on this issue.
NAPOLITANO: Yeah, the British don't have a constitution, Neil. They have a tradition that allows their legislature to rewrite the tradition. They also don't --
CAVUTO: No, they have a tradition of wanting to live, right?
NAPOLITANO: Yeah, they have a tradition of wanting to live. They also have a tradition of --
CAVUTO: They put up with it. They put up with sometimes aimlessly going to jail for no reason because the greater good is protecting the greater amount of people.
NAPOLITANO: What the British have done would never be permitted here. The British enacted a statute last year that allows the government to lock up anybody it wants without stating a reason, without even having a suspicion, for 28 days. Our constitution prohibits that. Because we have a constitution, in order for that to happen here, we would have to amend it first. Because the British do not have a constitution, Parliament can allow that.
CAVUTO: I see. All right. Well, we disagree. But you're a lawyer. All right.
NAPOLITANO: Aren't you glad we have the First Amendment? We make our living on the First Amendment, Neil.
CAVUTO: I guess just the image of you throwing things at the TV was enough to say, "Bring him in."
NAPOLITANO: No, no, no.
CAVUTO: All right, Judge.
NAPOLITANO: Thank you for having me.
CAVUTO: Thank you.