Saturday, December 03, 2011

Like father, like son: Rand Paul calls Senate’s bluff, kills terrorist detainee amendment

From The Hill's Floor Action Blog:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky. [son of Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul--JAH]) on Thursday — simply by asking for a recorded vote — managed to kill an amendment that would have "clarified" that the military can indefinitely detain enemy combatants.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), called the amendment to the floor, explaining it ought to garner the support of all senators because it would simply “clarify” that enemy combatants acquitted of crimes in a court can still be held in military detention until they are no longer deemed a threat. [???!!! Let me get this right: acquitted of crimes in court, but still to be held in detention. --Now, I understand that (literally) guilty parties can be acquitted in a court of law. And I understand how an enemy combatant (a true combatant) will remain a threat whether he (or she) can be found guilty of a specific criminal act or not. But then shouldn't the court case be about whether the person really is a combatant and not about some crime? --I'm probably demonstrating some kind of naivete, here. But, really. --What is the base for this proposed legislation? --JAH]

Looking to spare vulnerable Democrats from an awkward vote on the controversial issue of extra-judicial military detention, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), with the assent of his Republican counterpart John McCain (R-Ariz.), attempted to swiftly pass the amendment by unanimous consent.

“I think that this can be accepted on voice vote,” Levin said, when Sessions finished presenting the amendment. “I have great problems with it, but I think there is probably a majority here that will favor it.” [???!!! "I have great problems with [the legislation" but "I think this can be accepted on voice vote"? --Is this the height of hypocrisy, or what? --JAH]

But from across the chamber, Paul demanded a recorded vote on the amendment [Thank you, Paul! --JAH], which resulted in a resounding 41-59 defeat.

“I am going to ask for the yays and nays,” Paul said, surprising leaders.

Both McCain and Levin, who indicated moments before that they would agree to passage of the measure by unanimous consent, voted against it in that roll-call vote.
Campaign for Liberty's Matt Hawes commented,
[T]he amendment they tried to sneak through with a voice vote was one that would have allowed the government to indefinitely detain American citizens – even if they were tried and found not guilty – until Congress declared an end to the war on terror.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to picture how furious the Founders would be that any American, especially one who has been found innocent of the charges, could be held indefinitely by officials sworn to uphold the Constitution. . . .

[T]his fight isn't over, and there's still other language in the [National Defense Authorization] Act to allow for indefinite detention that must be removed.
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