Friday, December 16, 2011
WASHINGTON -- The Senate passed a defense bill Thursday that authorizes indefinite detentions of American terrorism suspects, coincidentally acting on the controversial measure on the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, passed 86 to 13 and is expected to be signed quickly by President Obama, who withdrew a veto threat against the bill Wednesday. Six Democrats, six Republicans and one independent opposed the bill.
Though the legislation passed overwhelmingly, several senators argued that it was threatening fundamental provisions of the Bill of Rights, which is celebrated every Dec. 15.
"We as Americans have a right to a speedy trial, not indefinite detention," said Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). "We as Americans have a right to a jury of our peers, which I would argue is ... not enlisted or military personnel sitting in a jury. You cannot search our businesses or place of business or our homes without probable cause under the Bill of Rights."
"You cannot be deprived of your freedom or your property without due process of law, and that, I would say, is not indefinite detention," added Kirk, who voted for the bill. "I would actually argue that no statute and no Senate and no House can take these rights away from you."
The 13 senators who voted against the bill were Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)...[Full Article]
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