The process of confirming Sonia Sotomajor to the Supreme Court will be
the occasion for debate over constitutional issues. The rights of those suspected and accused of crimes should be part
of the discussion. No doubt Judge Sotomajor will be asked her views on torture and the treatment of suspected
terrorists. She should also be asked about interrogation practices routinely used domestically, as well as
other law enforcement practices that contribute to the punishment of the innocent.
Americans feel increasingly disturbed by our government's torture
of suspected terrorists, but it's unclear what will come of that reaction. Ideally, it will lead to reconsideration and
eventually abandonment of the interrogation methods routinely used in domestic law enforcement. The danger
is that these methods will come to be seen as more acceptable because they seem tame compared to physical torture such as
waterboarding. In fact, psychologically coercive interrogation techniques have similar effects to physical torture, stripping
individuals of dignity and producing false confessions.