A Cornerstone of our Free Society is in Clear and Present Danger ...
but it isn't dead YET!!
By Winter Patriot on 11/13/2005, 3:47am PT  

Guess blogged by Winter Patriot

From Lectric Law Library

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody
...
Habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. Therefore, the writ must be "administered with the initiative and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and corrected."

And from the Wikipedia:

The right of habeas corpus has long been celebrated as the most efficient safeguard of the liberty of the subject. Dicey wrote that the Habeas Corpus Acts "declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty".

Everybody clear on this? Good!

Now here's a call to action from hilzoy of Obsidian Wings, sent to us by a friend at Ohio University, via BRAD BLOG commentor Jazzolog (everyone clear on that, too? Good!!)...

On Nov. 10, the Senate passed an amendment that strips detainees of any right to a petition of habeas corpus. It does allow the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to hear claims from them. The problem, though, is that those claims are very, very limited. To quote the new version: they "shall be limited to the consideration of whether the status determination of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal with regard to such alien was consistent with the procedures and standards specified by the Secretary of Defense for Combatant Status Review Tribunals."

Our country should never be the sort of place where the Secretary of Defense can just drop someone into a legal black hole, where the laws cannot reach, and whence there is no appeal. And we should not tolerate attempts to turn it into such a place. We claim to be a nation of laws; habeas corpus is one of the foundations of those laws, and it is too precious, and too important to the country we want to be, for us to throw it away.

The good news is: We can still do something about this. Sen. Bingaman has an amendment which will strike the jurisdiction-stripping provision of Graham's amendment. It should come up for a vote early next week. So please, please, call your Senators again, and ask them to support Bingaman's amendment to Graham's amendment to S. 1042.

Some particularly crucial Senators:

Collins (ME) T: (202) 224-2523 F: (202) 224-2693
Dewine (OH) T: (202) 224-2315 F: (202) 224-6519
Mccain (AZ) T: (202) 224-2235 F: (202) 228-2862
Snowe (ME) T: (202) 224-5344 F: (202) 224-1946
Warner (VA) T: (202) 224-2023 F: (202) 224-6295
Hagel (NE ) T: (202) 224-4224 F: (202) 224-5213

Conrad (D ND) T: (202) 224-2043 F: (202) 224-7776
Landrieu (D LA) T: (202)224-5824 F: (202) 224-9735
Lieberman (D CT) T: (202) 224-4041 F: (202) 224-9750
Nelson (D NEB) T: (202) 224-6551 F: (202) 228-0012
Wyden (D OR) T: (202) 224-5244 F: (202) 228-2717

Thanks to everyone who calls.

I coudn't have said it better myself! And you can read more from Obsidian Wings here: The Evil Amendment: Bad News; Still Hope

... and here and here and here and here and here and here.