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Leahy/Specter Markup

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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June 6, 2007

So, tomorrow morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will markup (that is, possibly amend and send to the full Senate) a bill to restore habeas rights for the Gitmo detainees. It’s a short one. Here’s the meat of S. 185, introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., and cosponsored by Sen. Pat Leahy from Vermont, chair of the Judiciary Committee:

(a) In General- Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (e). (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.’.

As you can see, it purports to restore habeas review and habeas review only for the detainees. Section 2241 is the primary habeas law, which gives federal courts jurisdiction to issue habeas orders and delineates the scope of the writ. The bill strikes subsection (e) of 2241, which was added by the MCA to limit habeas jurisdiction.I plan to be at the markup tomorrow. Though I won’t be able to “liveblog” it, I’ll hit a Starbucks soon after and send along some thoughts.