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April 21, 2014 4:58 PM Abolish the Sixth Amendment!

By Ed Kilgore

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire noted a new Republican Governors Association ad being run in South Carolina against Democratic candidate Vincent Sheheen under the headline: “Most Negative Political Ad Ever?” and suggested it set “a new standard for nasty.” I’d say it sets a new standard for immoral cynicism.

You’d think the “constitutional conservatives” of the Republican Party might be aware there’s an item in the Bill of Rights—the Sixth Amendment to be precise—that guarantees those accused of criminal acts the right to “the assistance of counsel.” A really deep-thinking constitutional conservative might even understand that we don’t know who the “criminals” are until they are given a fair trial. In an especially despicable little twist, the anonymous narrator of this ad twice notes that Sheheen was paid for defending “violent criminals who abused women.” Would it have been better if he had represented them for free?

I hope someone immediately asks the intended beneficiary of this toxic piece of agitprop, SC Governor Nikki Haley, if she thinks we should just repeal the Sixth Amendment, and maybe take everyone accused of a crime and set ‘em on fire right there at the point of arrest.

Trouble is, she might say “Sure!”

RGA Chair Chris Christie ultimately needs to be held accountable for this crap. I’d love to hear him—an attorney—try to justify an attack on the Right to Counsel.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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