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Habeas Corpus Restored? Maybe...

Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy yesterday introduced the “Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2006,” to put back the much needed federal court jurisdiction over suspected enemy combatants. (link)

This bill would repeal two provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 enacted in September. MCA limited habeas corpus and Specter supported this bill. Remember? Now Specter is authoring a bill against it.


" (Specter)decided to back the bill because it has several good items, and the court will clean it up"


"The Constitution of the United States is explicit that habeas corpus may be suspended only in time of rebellion or invasion," observed Sen. Specter. "We are suffering neither of those alternatives at the present time. We have not been invaded, and there has not been a rebellion."

What gives? Can you say.... election results?

Gee... what a difference an election makes. Yeah, sure Specter tried to attach an amendment to MCA to restore Habeas Corpus, but the ultimate voice is a vote and he voted: 'Yes' for MCA before the election.

At least Leahy is consistent.
Then (MCA):

"This is not just a bad bill, this is a dangerous bill."


"This bill would restore the great writ of habeas corpus, a cornerstone of American liberty for hundreds of years that Congress and the President rolled back in an unprecedented and unnecessary way with September's Military Commissions Act,"

In any case, whether Specter is playing politics or not, restoring Habeas Corpus is a good thing. Thanks for the about-face Mr. Specter.

Posted by john trevisani at December 6, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #197991

I think Specter is doing what he wanted to do before. He was one of the few Republicans willing to stand up against the president. I was disappointed with the original bill but am glad to see Specter pushing this new one.

Posted by: Trent at December 6, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #198003

I am so glad to hear this. I just got a letter back from my Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison defending the legislation as is. That lady has got to go along with her compadre’ Sen. John Cornyn.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 6, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #198016

True, politicians are infuriating, but let us take joy in what seems to be a step towards refortifying our judiciary.

Posted by: Zeek at December 6, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #198024

I am assuming that this bill will not come up for a vote until the Democrats take over in January. I wonder how many of Specter’s colleagues will join him to vote for passage of the amended bill.

Posted by: jlw at December 6, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #198032


This is encouraging news although I doubt it will survive the Bush veto pen. If I’m wrong I hope Leahy can also revisit some of the provisions included in The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, aka Public Law 109-364, which basically serves as a repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act making it much easier for Bush, or any future President, to declare martial law.

We can at least hope for a return to sanity.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 6, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #198043

Sorry, but Specter could have voted against it in the first place.

And as far as the court cleaning it up? Isn’t it the Republicans that don’t want the courts legislating from the bench?

Come on.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 6, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #198102

KansasDem, the Public Law 109-364 actually made sense for president and party that knew they were going to become highly unpopular with the public, don’t you think?

They just couldn’t figure out how to organize all those paperless voting machines in time. Timing is everything in politics and authoritarian regimes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #198127

David R. Remer,

That entire peice of legislation shocked me. John Warner shocked me. He was always on my “short-list” of Republican’s that seemed to put America ahead of any partisan BS.

I was especially shocked that our Governor’s control over their National Guard could be so easily minimized. I see it as one more step towards an all powerful executive branch.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 7, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #198140


I don’t think that Specter has ever had trouble with the judicial branch doing its job. He is an honorable man that made one of the many devil’s choices that congresspeople are faced. Lay off him. You can go after the other Democrats and Republicans that voted for the bill, but he clearly tried to do the right thing.

Posted by: Rob at December 7, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #198143


Lay off him? I was responding to the original post and the follow-up posts. I didn’t say anything about Specter and the courts, I specified Republicans.

I feel the same way about anyone who voted for the bill, Democrat or Republican. And I never said nor implied that he was less than honorable.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 7, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #198204

I used to despise Specter as a politician. Then, he had a brush with death and chemotherapy! He now seems a man bent on making up for his past, from the Warren Commission forward through 2003.

I have a new found respect for this man reformed by the wink and nod from the grim reaper. He has been touched by reality and sworn himself to wrestle with it, straight up! That is the kind of person I can respect.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 7, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #198303

Well woman, forgive me. Since it was Specter that said let the courts cleaning it up, I thought (I think with reasonably good reason) that you were referring to him.

If you feel the same way about the Democrats that voted for the bill, why didn’t that make your first comment?

Posted by: Rob at December 8, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #198304

Because the original post was about Specter?

Posted by: womanmarine at December 8, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #198306

Yes, and the comment in particular was attributed to him.

Posted by: Rob at December 8, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #198332


Sorry you misunderstood my post. I stand by what I posted. In referring to the courts, I clearly specified Republicans, his comment or not.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 8, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #198710


So do you agree with the original posts intent that Specter’s new bill is an act of pandering or do you believe that it could just as easily and a whole lot less cynically be attributed as an act of patriotism and idealism?

Posted by: rob at December 11, 2006 2:55 PM
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