According to Matt Stoller, there's a possibility that the Armed Services Committee will include a restoration of habeas corpus into the Defense Department authorization bill in the committee mark up of it, which is happening tomorrow and Thursday.
Congressional Democrats now have the opportunity to undo the most egregious damage they've done to the Constitution with the Military Commissions Act. While the ACLU and other organizations are working to have the entire Act repealed, at the very least restoring habeas is a critical start.
1. Habeas corpus is a core principle of the Western legal system. Since 1215, habeas corpus has been a major mechanism in ensuring that executive power, whether exercised by a king or a president, is checked.
2. Our nation’s founders deemed the right of habeas corpus so important that they enshrined it into the Constitution.
3. Habeas corpus can be suspended by Congress only in times of rebellion or invasion, and neither is currently taking place.
4. Habeas corpus is a core democratic principle. If we are to continue to think of the United States as a free and democratic country, it is very important that we hold on to our Constitutional principles.
5. The Bush administration's "alternative procedure” – the Combatant Status Review Tribunal – is no substitute for habeas corpus. In the unfair and deeply flawed CSRT process, coerced evidence and secret evidence are allowed, and detainees cannot have an attorney represent them.
6. The detainees, many of whom are guilty of only being in the wrong place at the wrong time, have lost years of their lives due to the actions of the Bush administration. They must be given the right to challenge their detention so that these wrongs can begin to be righted.
7. People and countries around the world view the United States as lawless. We can begin to change that by restoring the right of habeas corpus to the almost 400 detainees at Guantánamo
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