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ACLU Applauds House Armed Services Hearing on Restoring Habeas Corpus Due Process Rights

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7/26/2007
ACLU.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union was encouraged today by
the House Armed Services Committee hearing titled Upholding the Principle of
Habeas Corpus for Detainees. The committee discussed Chairman Ike Skelton’s
(D-MO) proposed bipartisan legislation restoring the due process right of habeas
corpus that was taken away by the Military Commissions Act last fall. The ACLU
hopes this hearing will lead to the enactment of Chairman Skelton’s bill.

"Chairman Skelton and the House Armed Services Committee should be commended
for trying to restore our nation’s Constitution and the rule of law. Returning
habeas corpus should be a top priority of this Congress, and Chairman Skelton’s
bill is a good first step," said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the
ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "To let a president define who is an
enemy combatant and then order those people held indefinitely and without charge
at places like Guantánamo Bay undermines our core American values. In the November
2006 elections, the American people demanded Congress rein in the Bush administration’s
shredding of the Constitution. Chairman Skelton is acting on that call for reform."

H.R. 2826, sponsored by Chairman Skelton, is a bipartisan bill that would restore
the constitutional due process right of habeas corpus that the Congress and
the president took away with the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), a law
pushed through by President Bush just weeks before the midterm elections.

"Today’s hearing takes us one step closer to restoring our Constitution
and undoing the wrongs of Guantánamo Bay," said Christopher Anders, legislative
counsel for the ACLU. "Many retired admirals and generals, including Colin
Powell, say that habeas due process rights should not be denied to anyone. Part
of what makes America great is that Americans believe that the Constitution
and our laws apply to everyone; there should be no legal black hole. The ACLU
looks forward to the day when habeas corpus is signed back into law. Chairman
Skelton and the Armed Services Committee have taken the lead on this front in
the House – and for that, we applaud them."

Source URL: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/30956prs20070726.html

Learn more about the Military Commissions Act and Habeas Corpus here.

Read text and status of all bills, like Skelton’s H.R. 2826, at thomas.gov