Vote number 2006-255 preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees
on Sep 28, 2006
regarding bill S.AMDT.5087 to S.3930 Specter Amendment
Results: Amendment rejected 48-51
Sen. Specter's amendment would strike the provision regarding habeas review. The underlying bill authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. Excerpts from the Senate floor debate:
Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.
Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of habeas corpus is maintained.
GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.
SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.
Voting YES counts for 2 points on VoteMatch question 14:
Patriot Act harms civil liberties;
Voting NO counts for -2 points on VoteMatch question 14.
voting on 2006-255
|VT Former Independent Senator (retired 2006)
|FL Former GOP Senator (resigned 2009); previously HUD Secy.