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June 06, 2007

Comments

Thomas links are a mess. Some of them are permanent, though (generally the ones that contain a bill number and don't contain "temp"), and somewhere there's an explanation of how to construct them manually if you don't get a permanent one. Maybe someday they'll have permanent links easily available like blogs, but it's been years, so I'm not holding my breath.

Here is a link that should be permanent. It's "http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d" + the Congress number (currently 110) + a colon + the bill number (it will accept a few formats -- with an without periods and leading zeros) + a final colon. Hideous, but at least it works.

I see Specter hasn't been able to get any other Republicans to cosponsor. For the good of the country, and to improve the chances of passage, I hope some can be persuaded by constituent pressure.

"Sen Salazar, Ken [CO]"

My Senator is already signed up. It would be nice to think that I'd accomplish something beyond a waste of time by calling Wayne Allard's office, but it doesn't seem likely. He wouldn't care if 80% of the state were for the bill: he's not running for re-election, and reason never played any role in any of his decisions up to now, anyway.

John Warner isn't eager:

[...] This week's ruling did not appear to sway Republican lawmakers to consider reinstituting habeas corpus. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who helped negotiate the commissions act, said "time will tell" whether Congress will reconsider. "I still have faith in the appeals process," he said.

"Congress can't suddenly begin to rewrite laws every time a federal district court judge or somebody changes their view of the law," Warner added.

Sigh.

It's a bloody nuisance being represented by Russ sometimes. I never get to call him to tell him what to do!

Well, looks like my email to Senator Warner will be wasted then.

I tried to call. All of his lines were busy. They've been busy or just not answered every time I try to call his office. Even through the switchboard. Not even some kind of voicemail. Pretty amateurish for a US Senator.

I wouldn't give up on Warner. Allard is a non-entity, with pure cotton for brains. But Warner, although conservative, is a smart guy, who has been around for a long time, and takes the Senate as an institution to have value; he's not a pure rollover dog for the administration, even though sometimes his votes come out the same: but not always. It's not impossible that he might come around eventually.

Sending a non-form piece of snail mail is probably better than a phone call, anyway.

Also, you might try calling his local office, rather than Washington, if you can't get through to D.C.

Any chance of rolling back the "immunity from war crimes" provisions of the MCA?

Sasha, even if Bush wouldn't veto the restoration of habeas corpus, he obviously would veto any undoing of his immunity for war crimes (assuming that's even theoretically possible), and I'd say there's pretty clearly no chance of getting enough Republicans to go along for a veto-proof majority.

I know, but there's always hope.

I'm probably being naive here but why wouldn't it be possible to undo immunity for war crimes? Or am I misreading your post?

So what does Section 2 (b) do? It looks kind of bad on its face, but is the previous section (b) it is replacing even worse?


(b) Title 10- Section 950j of title 10, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

`(b) Limited Review of Military Commission Procedures and Actions- Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or in section 2241 of title 28 or any other habeas corpus provision, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter.'.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or in section 2241 of title 28 or any other habeas corpus provision, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever,

I'm mostly trusting the sponsors that the law does what they say it does -- I don't have a full sense of how the provisions interrelate. That said, what it looks like is that the provision maintains the fact that no suit relating to detention other than a habeas petition may be brought, but the bolded language restores habeas rights.

It's a bit tricky, since Section 950j of title 10 is a new section, inserted by the MCA, and hasn't made it into the official US Code sites. I checked out the bill earlier using my pdf of the MCA, but I think I've found the right version on Thomas, and in it the section to be altered says:

"(b) Provisions of Chapter Sole Basis for Review of Military Commission Procedures and Actions- Except as otherwise provided in this chapter and notwithstanding any other provision of law (including section 2241 of title 28 or any other habeas corpus provision), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter."

So it basically changes a para. that says: Notwithstanding any laws except this chapter, and specially notwithstanding any habeas statutes... to one that says: notwithstanding any laws except this chapter and the habeas statutes...

I'm guessing they're trying to keep this bill simple, changing only the habeas parts and nothing else.

Nice to see Sherrod Brown is already on board with this. Voinovich voted for the MCA originally, so I can't really see him voting for this.

@Nate: There's a robo-call campaign right now on behalf of immigration reform; that may be what's gumming up the lines in Warner's office.

Warner's office responds to letters sent via his web-page contact link just the same as if they were paper letters (many weeks later, but they do respond). They read and record the opinion pretty promptly.

I'm faxing my letter to his office, and also sending one to Webb. It's very likely that Webb already is planning to vote for this bill, but I take nothing for granted.

Warner web contact page
Webb via web

Warner fax: 202-224-6295
Webb fax: 202-228-6363

Sherrod Brown better be out lobbying other Senators; he voted for the MCA, and this is only a partial rollback (though a crucial first step).

I'm so glad to be living in Illinois. It gives me so many chances to be lazy.

Phil, Specter voted for the MCA, and he's sponsoring this rollback. Not everyone who voted for the thing was thrilled with the habeas-stripping provision. Don't assume Voinovich is unreachable.

Now 19 cosponsors. Barbara Boxer signed on yesterday. Still no Republicans.

I called too late -- but that means I'm first with the news: the bill PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE!!

Practically every Democratic member of the Committee co-sponsored the bill by the end.

Every once in a long while, I am proud to be a registered Democrat.

Well, I left a message for Webb the other day, and yeah, Warner's office has been good about replying to emails via letters over the years. Often form letters that ignore much of what I said in the email, but this was a pretty simple topic, so hey.

I still can't say I really like the man, though. Especially with all the times he's gotten up and acted indignant to the press about different things Bush wanted to do, then just caved.

I'm so glad to be living in Illinois. It gives me so many chances to be lazy.

Ah yes. I'm guiltlessly lazy in MA also.

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