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Legislative Prospects

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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June 26, 2007

So, in addition to Mr. Keene, Reverend Kilmer and a number of other speakers, I got to interview Senators Dodd and Cardin and Representatives Nadler and Kucinich. I was especially interested in legislative prospects for either habeas restoration or Gitmo closure in the House and the Senate. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to speak with Senator Leahy, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.In any event, here’s where it looks like we stand. The current battleground is the Senate, and the House looks pretty good. Representative Nadler, who is chairing a hearing right now on Gitmo in the Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee, is optimistic that the full House has a safe majority to pass something, perhaps akin to the Specter/Leahy fix habeas bill. The bill that’s likely to move is the Skelton bill, for which we’ve got a solid majority (as well as 20 Armed Services Committee cosponsors, including two Republicans).On the Senate side, obviously Democrats have a majority, though it’s always much easier for the minority to block legislation. The best chance, according to Senator Dodd and others, may be to tack on a Specter/Leahy (restore habeas) or a Harkin (close Gitmo) bill to another vehicle. Keep your eyes peeled for that.And thanks so much to all the members who took time to speak with me. It was a privilege.

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