A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise yesterday that would dramatically alter U.S. policy for treating captured terrorist suspects by granting them a final recourse to the federal courts but stripping them of some key legal rights.Aside from the obvious reasons to oppose it (like, habeas corpus is so fundamental to our legal system it's in the Constitution), there's this reason:
The compromise links legislation written by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), which would deny detainees broad access to federal courts, with a new measure authored by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass
The Justice and Defense departments have expressed strong support for legislation that would curtail a flurry of civil litigation coming out of the military's detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to some senators involved in the negotiation. "The truth is, this is something the administration would dearly like," Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said of the language curtailing detainee access to the courts.And here's the problem (aside from the fact Kevin Drum likes it because Kevin never met a compromise he didn't like, apparently):
Levin's language would grant any detainee sentenced to death or at least 10 years of prison by a military trial an automatic appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court would review guilt or innocence and could also determine the constitutionality of the entire process case by case, Graham said. Those sentenced to less than 10 years could petition the appeals court for review.Atrios even thinks it might be a step in the right direction, but I respectfully disagree. This is the "Great Writ" we're talking about. On this issue, we cannot compromise.
The Graham measure approved last week grants an appeal to the D.C. Circuit, but under that provision the court may examine only whether a military tribunal followed its own standards and procedures
Might be worthwhile to remind them of that.