September 19th, 2007

Republican Senators Oppose Habeas Corpus

photo credit: Still Burning

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) proposed Amendment 2022 to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 which would “restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.”

The vote (56 Yea, 43 Nay, 1 not voting) fell just short of the three-fifths required for a passing vote.

And so, we will most likely go another year without this basic individual protection against government.

Notable in the vote is, as is usual, a large split between parties. The only Nay votes were from Republicans, the new pro-war party, including both Utah senators.

The GOP in recent years has been all too willing to throw away individual liberty in the process of expanding the empire and pursuing war. Senator Leahy, in his statement today in this amendment, wisely noted:

The most daunting challenge in the age of terrorism is to strike the proper balance between maintaining our national security against very real threats and preserving the civil liberties that are the proudest legacy of our Founders.

The GOP has shown that such balance is not important to them, by consistently undermining this basic Constitutional protection.

4 Responses to “Republican Senators Oppose Habeas Corpus”

  1. rmwarnick
    September 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    The Military Commissions Act should be thrown out on constitutional grounds. Congress gave the executive branch authority to designate anyone at all as an illegal enemy combatant, at which point the victim loses all rights, specifically including habeas corpus, and can be imprisoned and tortured.

    As every elementary school student ought to know, habeas corpus is guaranteed in the Constitution and cannot be suspended except in case of invasion or rebellion.

    Ironically, the inmates at Guantanamo may be exempt from this insane law because they were already designated as enemy combatants, but not illegal ones.

  2. Jay
    September 19, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    Elementary school students are taught that Abraham Lincoln was a great American hero . . . to suggest to them that one of the greatest American heroes committed such a heinous crime (suspension of habeas corpus) would only serve to confuse them, don’t you think?



  3. Dan
    September 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm #

    The Democrats better use this against Republicans next year in the elections. Republicans have 22 Senate seats to protect, while the Democrats have only 6 seats up for grabs. They could indeed get ten more seats and finally break the Republican filibuster.

    What really upsets me about these weak cowardly Democrats of today is that they don’t call the Republicans’ filibuster bluffs. If Republicans really want to filibuster such a bill, I say LET THEM! Let’s have a real long debate about what we really stand for. Let’s hear the Republicans argue night and day, holding up all the bills that Congress needs to pass.

    They want to filibuster? Let them. Com’on Democrats, show some gusto!

  4. Connor
    September 21, 2007 at 10:09 am #

    Meanwhile, the Congress had time and adequate support to pass a resolution condeming the recent ad against General Petraeus.

    Nice priorities.

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