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December 16, 2011 11:47 PM UTC

Mark Udall Introduces "Due Process Guarantee" For American Citizens

  • 17 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

From Senator Mark Udall’s press release today–full text after the jump:

Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, announced that he has joined Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and a bipartisan group of his colleagues in introducing the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, to clarify that American citizens apprehended inside the United States cannot be indefinitely detained by the military.

The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is a response to a controversial provision passed Thursday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could be interpreted to allow American citizens to be detained indefinitely without trial.  Udall opposed that provision and fought to remove it from the authorization bill…

“There are American citizens who have collaborated with our enemies and participated in attacks against our soldiers and civilians; those traitors should be dealt with,” Udall said.  “But even in our darkest hours, we must ensure that our Constitution prevails.  We do ourselves a grave disservice by allowing for any citizen to be locked up indefinitely without trial – no matter how serious the charges against them.  Our national security leadership has even said it could make us less safe.  Especially given the provisions in the 2012 defense authorization bill, we must clarify that the law unequivocally does not allow the government to detain Americans indefinitely on U.S. soil without trial or charge.  And that is the purpose behind this new legislation.”

For more on the vote to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, and the fight over controversial provisions therein regarding the indefinite detention of American citizens, the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper writes:

As for the Senate, Colorado’s Mark Udall helped attract national attention to the issue last week when he offered an unsuccessful amendment to the Senate version that would have stripped out the detention language.

Udall voted for the bill on final passage Thursday but stated: “As these (detention) provisions are implemented over the coming months and years, I intend to hold accountable this administration and any future administration.”

Reporter Allison Sherry of the Denver paper writes that Udall’s successful introduction of five amendments to the defense authorization bill, and the bulk of the bill’s uncontroversial provisions that he did support, led to his vote for final passage–and with an 86-13 vote, passage wasn’t in question. Reluctance over the indefinite detention controversy expressed by a good number of Sen. Udall’s colleagues means there’s a chance this second bill, a fix for the language in the first bill, might actually stand a chance of passage. At the very least, Sen. Udall is giving them a chance to vote for a “clean” prohibition of indefinitely detaining an American citizen apprehended on American soil–which sounds like an awfully hard judiciary sell anyway.

It’s not the first time knee-jerk critics of Sen. Udall on the left should have waited 24 hours.

Udall Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Prohibit Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial or Charge

Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, announced that he has joined Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and a bipartisan group of his colleagues in introducing the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, to clarify that American citizens apprehended inside the United States cannot be indefinitely detained by the military.

The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is a response to a controversial provision passed Thursday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could be interpreted to allow American citizens to be detained indefinitely without trial.  Udall opposed that provision and fought to remove it from the authorization bill.  

The Due Process Guarantee Act amends the Non-Detention Act of 1971 by providing that a congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention – without charge or trial – of U.S. citizens.  The bill also codifies a “clear-statement rule” that requires Congress to expressly authorize detention authority over U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.  The protections are limited to those “apprehended in the United States” and exclude citizens who take up arms against the United States on a foreign battlefield, such as Afghanistan.

“There are American citizens who have collaborated with our enemies and participated in attacks against our soldiers and civilians; those traitors should be dealt with,” Udall said.  “But even in our darkest hours, we must ensure that our Constitution prevails.  We do ourselves a grave disservice by allowing for any citizen to be locked up indefinitely without trial – no matter how serious the charges against them.  Our national security leadership has even said it could make us less safe.  Especially given the provisions in the 2012 defense authorization bill, we must clarify that the law unequivocally does not allow the government to detain Americans indefinitely on U.S. soil without trial or charge.  And that is the purpose behind this new legislation.”

The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is also co-sponsored by senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

###

Comments

17 thoughts on “Mark Udall Introduces “Due Process Guarantee” For American Citizens

  1. the Senator has to sponsor a bill to do what I believe is already part of the constitution. I don’t always agree with Senator Udall but in this particular instance he handled an otherwise difficult vote in the appropriate way.  

    Does anyone believe that the Supreme Court, even as conservative as it is, will uphold the provision to indefinitely detain an American citizen in the name of national security?

      1. The Boulder Liberal? Then progressives were always mad at him for not being liberal enough? I like the latest version: Patriot who thinks the constitution means something even whe we’re nervous. Maybe ArapG would like to cite the last time Americans died in a terrorist attack because they were tracked, investigated, arrested and tried in the usual constitutional way.  

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