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Senate Puts Another Nail in the Habeas Corpus Coffin

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Well, they tried. But that wasn't good enough.

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced S.AMDT.2022 to restore habeas corpus rights for detainees held by the U.S.

20 senators cosponsored it, including Democratic presidential candidates Clinton, Obama, and Dodd.

Yesterday, the roll call vote was taken.

Along with Specter, a handful of other Republicans voted in favor of habeas corpus. But the Republicans still had enough "Nay" votes to kill it, with help from Joe Lieberman.

>> See how your senators voted (and keep it in mind when they're up for reelection).

These Republican senators voted against one of the fundamental principles of our free democracy. They believe that detainees held as enemy combatants (many of whom are believed to be wrongfully imprisoned) should not have the right to challenge their treatment and detention in U.S. courts. No due process.

They support the idea that anyone can be declared guilty with the wave of a hand, and never have a chance to be proven innocent, just because George W. Bush says so.

In response, Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:
The United States Senate missed a major opportunity to demonstrate leadership by failing to provide Senators the opportunity to help re-establish a cornerstone of the U.S. justice system -- the right to habeas corpus. By not voting for cloture, the Senate gave up an important chance to help restore the United States' reputation as a nation that respects and adheres to the rule of law.

Amnesty International praises Senators Specter, Leahy, and Dodd for their work and all the Senators who voted to reinstate a basic civil right.

Amnesty International encourages the U.S. House of Representatives to allow the question of habeas corpus to be debated in an open forum as a step forward in fixing the disaster Congress created last year by the passage of the Military Commissions Act.
I miss the America I grew up in -- the one that stood for something positive.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 
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