WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to end the law that lets the military indefinitely detain people arrested in America on terrorism charges.
That policy was enshrined in law with last year's National Defense Authorization Act, although President Barack Obama has issued rules barring authorities from detaining Americans.
But that is not good enough, said House lawmakers on Wednesday, vowing to push an amendment by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to this year's National Defense Authorization Act that would expressly require any suspected terrorist caught in the United States or its territories to be tried in civilian courts.
"Hopefully we can be successful this week in clarifying this to make sure once and for all that we as a people don't endorse the whole notion -- which contradicts everything we should believe in -- that we could be arrested and put in secret prisons," said Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), lending his national status as a libertarian leader to the effort.
"If we don't change this, believe me, this country is in serious trouble," Paul said.
The complaint of the lawmakers and other opponents of indefinite detention is not just that it tramples on the constitutional right to a trial but also that it doesn't work.
"In the last 10 years, we have successfully prosecuted -- tried and convicted -- over 400 terrorists," Smith said. "Even as we sit here today, there are over 300 terrorists in U.S. prisons."
Smith argued that the authority to detain suspected terrorists captured in the United States was only invoked three times -- including the case of Brooklyn-born dirty bomb plotter Jose Padilla -- and dropped in all three in favor of deporting one suspect and trying the others in federal court.
"This authority that the president has has not been exercised in this country since 2003," Smith said. "The president does not need this authority to keep us safe."
But he added, "Leaving it on the books is an unnecessary threat to our civil liberties."
A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a section of the National Defense Authorization Act that opponents claim allows for indefinite military detention.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan today ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued officials including President Barack Obama, claiming the act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.
www.bloomberg.com - Military Detention Law Blocked by New York Judge
Originally posted by benrl
Ive actually contacted my representatives about this, we saw it with Sopa, that can work... Its amazing when something like that gets struck down by the people...
hopefully we can do it again with NDAA...
if enough people bitch at them enough times who knows...
VERY IMPORTANT: Leadership is promoting the Gohmert Amendment to the NDAA as an alternative to Smith-Amash. The Gohmert Amendment is a CYA vote. It says you get due process if you're entitled to due process. Sounds nice but doesn't do anything. The ONLY amendment that protects YOUR due process is Smith-Amash. I need REPUBLICAN support to get it adopted.
House contact info: house.gov...
An amendment being proposed by Rep. Louis Gohmert is rumored to be circulating as a suggested “fix” to the Chairman’s Mark—as doing what the original bill did not do, i.e., adequately protecting the rights of individuals within the United States. On my reading, the Gohmert Amendment makes three material changes to the Chairman’s Mark:
It narrows the scope of the statutory habeas protection to individuals “lawfully in the United States when detained,” as opposed to those “detained in the United States.”
It adds a new notification provision requiring that the President notify Congress within 48 hours of subjecting to military detention an individual “lawfully in the United States when detained.”
It specifies that “A person who is lawfully in the United States when detained pursuant to the [AUMF] shall be allowed to file an application for habeas corpus relief in an appropriate district court not later than 30 days after the date on which such person is placed in military custody.”
Just to be clear, the Gohmert Amendment does nothing whatsoever to address the central objections to the Chairman’s Mark vis-a-vis domestic detention, which are that it (1) merely provides by statute a remedy that is already available to individuals detained within the United States; and (2) says nothing about the circumstances in which individuals might actually be subject to military detention when arrested within the territorial United States (that is, whether individuals using the provided-for remedy might actually prevail). Anyone within the United States who was subject to military detention before the FY2013 NDAA would be subject to it afterwards, as well, at least under the Chairman’s Mark (and with or without the Gohmert Amendment).
Moreover, in my view, the Gohmert Amendment actually makes things worse in two very significant respects: First, it introduces uncertainty regarding whether individuals arrested within the United States but out of immigration status are entitled to pursue habeas relief (never mind the countless immigration cases where such relief has historically been available—and the compelling constitutional arguments supporting that jurisprudence). Second, the 30-day provision would arguably allow the government to preclude a detainee’s access to court (or counsel) for 30 days, whereas under current law, the detainee may file the moment he is “in custody under or by color of the authority of the United States.”