FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
11:48 AM May 24, 2012
The House approved the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act on May 18 with a vote of299-120. On their way to passing the massive $643 billion bill, a majority of House members made clear their absolute ignorance of the Constitution and disregard for the rule of law. In a truly pitiful spectacle, the House rejected an amendment that would have addressed the problems created by the detention provisions in the 2012 NDAA; instead they passed a bait and switch amendment which pretended to fix a problem that didn’t even exist, creating an even bigger problem.
Defending Dissent Foundation, and a broad coalition of human rights groups fought hard for the Smith-Amash amendment, which would have imposed an explicit statutory ban on any president or other government official from ordering the military to place anyone in the United States into indefinite detention without charge or trial, or from ordering anyone in the United States to be tried before a military commission. Although such actions would obviously be inconsistent with the Constitution and other laws, the explicit statutory ban is necessary due to the ambiguous language of the detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA. It was a bipartisanamendment that simply clarified the due process rights already enshrined in the Constitution.Read our coalition letter in support of the amendment here. The vote was 238-182 against the amendment. See how your Representative voted here.
Then, in a stunning display of ignorance, 243 members of the House voted for the Gohmert Amendment which claimed to “preserve” the right of Habeas Corpus, but in fact narrows the scope of habeas, placing confusing time limits on the right for U.S. citizens and guaranteeing the right only to people lawfully in the U.S. Furthuremore, the right to Habeas was never in question, even under the 2012 detention provisions.
Are they idiots, or do they think we are?
The NDAA now moves to the Senate. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) will lead the effort to fix the detention provisions, but Senator Levin, head of the Armed Services Committee is determined to thwart any effort to protect due process in the U.S.. Stay tuned.
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