Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Democracy in Action: Restore the Right of Habeas Corpus

Democrats on the Armed Services Committee in the House are reportedly considering a provision to restore the full right of habeas corpus into the Defense Department Authorization Bill, which is being marked up today and tomorrow. Stoller reports that "[a]pparently Chairman Skelton has the votes but there are concerns about whether to have this fight now."

Habeas corpus is a foundational right that protects all other rights you have; the right of a prisoner to petition a court for redress is the very essence of Liberty. Without a remedy, a right does not exist. Without the ability to appeal your case to a court, there is no way to ensure any of the basic necessities of due process, other than trust that your captors choose to honor them. You cannot prove that you are innocent, demand access to a lawyer, confront your accuser, review the evidence against you, or protest the conditions of your incarceration--even torture.

[Update: Glenn Greenwald has more valuable background on the issue, including the Democrats' shameful behavior in failing to fully oppose the Military Commissions Act when it was passed]

Here is the contact info for key representatives compiled by Matt Stoller at MyDD:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (202) 225-4965
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (202) 225-4131

Armed Services Committee Democrats
Ike Skelton, Missouri, Chairman, 202-225-2876
John Spratt, South Carolina, 202-225-5501
Solomon P. Ortiz, Texas, (202) 225-7742
Gene Taylor, Mississippi, 202 225-5772
Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, (202) 225-2726
Marty Meehan, Massachusetts, (202) 225-3411
Silvestre Reyes, Texas, (202) 225-4831
Vic Snyder, Arkansas, 202-225-2506
Adam Smith, Washington, (202) 225-8901
Loretta Sanchez, California, 202-225-5859
Mike McIntyre, North Carolina, (202) 225-2731
Ellen O. Tauscher, California, (202) 225-1880
Robert A. Brady, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4731
Robert Andrews, New Jersey, 202-225-6501
Susan A. Davis, California, (202) 225-2040
Rick Larsen, Washington, (202) 225-2605
Jim Cooper, Tennessee, 202-225-4311
Jim Marshall, Georgia, 202-225-4311
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Guam, (202) 225-1188
Mark Udall, Colorado, (202) 225-2161
Dan Boren, Oklahoma, (202) 225-2701
Brad Ellsworth, Indiana, (202) 225-4636
Nancy Boyda, Kansas, (202) 225-6601
Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-4276
Hank Johnson, Georgia, (202) 225-1605
Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire,(202) 225-5456
Joe Courtney, Connecticut, (202) 225-2076
David Loebsack, Iowa, 202.225.6576
Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, (202) 225-5614
Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania, (202) 225-2011
Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, (202) 225-2542
Elijah Cummings, Maryland, (202) 225-4741
Kendrick Meek, Florida, 202-225-4506
Kathy Castor, Florida, (202)225-3376


Blogger Mithras said...

I called Cong. Brady's office and was told the issue was not being brought up for a vote. I urged him to support bringing it forward.

12:36 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Luke said...

If true, that is unfortunate, to say the least. I contacted Rep. Skelton's office to voice my opinion, but did not receive an answer one way or another.

2:12 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Luke said...

Just to follow up, I noticed that a reader at Jeralyn's place has information that it will go forward as a stand-alone bill.

2:22 PM, May 09, 2007  

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