Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Republicans Win, Allow President to Torture and Detain People without Evidence or Review, Legal Black Hole Created

(Updated below. The bill passed.)

It looks like the sick, twisted torture and perpetual detention bill discussed below (here and here) is going to be passed today, no matter what. There will be no filibuster. And Arlen Specter's amendment that would have allowed some kind of judicial review failed, by a vote of 48-51. This means that once a person is labeled a terrorist (based on good evidence, bad evidence or no evidence), they can never escape that label. All of their rights are lost.
[A]s Law Professors Marty Lederman and Bruce Ackerman each point out, many of the extraordinary powers vested in the President by this bill also apply to U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil.As Ackerman put it: "The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights." Similarly, Lederman explains: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."
Glenn said it:

[W]e are legalizing tyranny in the United States. Period.

All this destruction of our Nation's finest ideals for a little election year posturing by the Republicans: "Protect the country. Don't coddle terrorists. No rights for terrorists. Terrorists are clogging the courts." Meanwhile, with their verbal smokescreen in place, they set up an alternative legal system (due process not included) that can snare any American and from which they can never escape. But don't worry. It's only for "terrorists." Not a terrorist? Too bad, no way to prove it.

This is a black day for America.

Update:

It's all over. Glenn Greenwald has the details here . The vote was 65-34. One relevant point for those of us in Pennsylvania:
During the debate on his amendment, Arlen Specter said that the bill sends us back 900 years because it denies habeas corpus protections. Then he voted for it.
Rick Santorum voted for it too.

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