Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Old-fashioned values, since 1305

N.J. Sen. Robert Menendez has seemed a tad bashful in Washington, so my family all smiled big when we heard on the radio tonight that he is co-sponsoring Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd's Restoring the Constitution Act that would correct that godawful Military Commissions Act.

The measure would restore habeas corpus, the right to challenge any detention in a court of law, which was part the magna carta of 1215, was first used in 1305 and was codified in the U.S. Constitution. Habeas corpus is just the cornerstone of due process of law.

Lots of folks' radars overlooked the little details in the Military Commissions Act, which soared through Congress last October in the last GOP-majority gasp. It gave our King George executive authority to detain anyone -- including Americans on U.S. soil -- forever or as long as his proxies wish, without telling anyone, without access ever to a judge or lawyer. True. Read it.

But then, it's not as if the "unitary executive" hadn't been taking that power illegally, anyway, in detaining Jose Padilla and countless other Americans and foreigners here and worldwide.

Before the Military Commissions vote, I called both our senators' offices and learned they probably had not read it. Yet they both, unfathomably, later that day voted YES on the Military Commissions Act. Anyone have a clue why? Will N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg join the Dodd/Menendez bill?

Oh, BTW, "minor" details: the Restoring the Constitution also would ban torture and uphold the Geneva Convention. I'll bet if you read international newspapers you'll find the world is watching this bill.

You as a citizen can co-sponsor it, here.

Menendez' statement today (blah, blah, blah): "Protecting the American people is our most sacred responsibility, therefore we must do all we can to destroy those who would try to destroy our way of life. In doing so, however, we must not compromise the values and virtues of our nation and Constitution. This act will give us the tools to defend America from her enemies, while never ceding our standing as a nation of freedom and justice."

Bravo, Senator, but didn't your yea vote on the Military Commissions bill in the first place work to "destroy our way of life"? Why didn't you read the damn thing and vote against it in October?

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