e_legs

A Bit of Good News

In Civil Liberties, Election 2006, Global War On Terror, Habeas Corpus, Laws & Regulation, Terrorism on November 19, 2006 at 3:36 am

From the Jurist

US Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced legislation Thursday that would restore habeas corpus rights to military detainees and make other amendments to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). A key provision in the MCA, which President Bush signed into law last month, strips US courts of jurisdiction to consider writs of habeas corpus filed by detainees classified as enemy combatants. Dodd’s bill, the Effective Terrorists Prosecution Act, would restore those protections. The amendments would also narrow the class of detainees identified as unlawful enemy combatants who are affected by the MCA’s habeas restriction. Among other key provisions are the exclusion of evidence acquired by coercion and the exclusion of hearsay evidence that judges deem unreliable.

Earlier this month, lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay petitioned the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to declare the suspension of habeas rights unconstitutional. In an amicus brief in the case, seven retired federal judges urged the appeals court to rule that parts of the MCA violate the Constitution. Dodd’s bill would also provide for expedited review of the MCA to ensure its constitutionality.

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  1. Dodd was vocal about the MCA during the commemorations of the Nuremberg Trials in October, at which Dodd’s dad (also a Sen Dodd of CT) was a lead attorney… Excerpt:

    His father, Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, had been a top prosecutor at Nuremberg. Letters he wrote at the time to his wife, Grace, showed how he understoodthe principle involved in trying Germans who many said did not deserve due process.

    ‘I am doing the right thing and I feel sure we will not regret it,’ the elder Dodd wrote on June 1, 1946. ‘Some day it will be a great landmark in the struggle of mankind for peace. I will never do anything as worthwhile.’

    Nuremberg came to be a symbol of international law and American moral authority for the next 60 years. But now, Thomas Dodd’s son fears, that symbol is being eroded and even eradicated by Bush administration policies.

    Standing at the desk where his father sat as a U.S. senator, Dodd told the Senate that the detainee bill will strip suspects of habeas corpus rights, or the right of detainees to challenge their imprisonment and argue for release.

    ‘This longstanding tradition of our country that is about to be abandoned here will be one of the great mistakes I think history will record,’ Dodd said.

    The Nuremberg team realized that ‘America’s ability to help bring about a world of peace and justice was rooted not in our military might,’ Dodd is expected to say, ‘but in our moral authority. Not in the ability to compel people with our tanks and planes, but to convince them that our values and ideals were right.’

  2. Press release from Christopher Dodd

    As posted on his web site. Hat-tip to krems.

    November 16, 2006
    Washington- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), an outspoken opponent of the Military Commission Act of 2006, today introduced legislation which would amend existing law in order to have an effecti…

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