Thursday, December 15, 2011

WSJ: Obama Withdraws Threat of Veto Over Detainee Rules

by E. Perez & s. Hughes 12/15/2011 p. A6

"President Barack Obama withdrew his threat to veto a Pentagon-funding bill that increases military authority over terrorism detainees..."

Majia here: See here for my discussion of the original version of the bill:

The WSJ article explains that revisions to the bill include waiver rights afforded to the US President, allowing him/her to decide in case-by-case fashion whether the military or the civilian justice system should take the lead in terrorism investigations. The bill appears to allow the President to delegate this authority.

It appears from both the WSJ and Washington Post accounts of changes to the bill that the basic problem of habeas corpus remains unresolved.

The WSJ article quotes Laura Pitter, counterterrorism adviser to Human Rights Watch: "From a legacy perspective, he's basically the first president in history to authorize indefinite detention without trail in the United States of America."

Likewise, The Washington Post account includes a quote from the ACLU:

[Excerpted] "Human rights and civil liberties groups, which have said that the bill would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, on Wednesday urged President Obama not to approve the measure. Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement that if Obama signs the measure, “it will damage both his legacy and America’s reputation for upholding the rule of law.”

“The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill,” Murphy said. “We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial. [end quoted passage]

See here for ACLU's reaction to the first version of this bill

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