ACLU Commends Chairman Skelton for Introduction of Habeas Restoration Bill

June 22, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union applauded Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and a bipartisan group of the leading national security voices in Congress for introduction of legislation that fully restores the writ of habeas corpus. The bill also provides protections against the illegal transfer of detainees, either between countries or internally. Representative Skelton is also chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and has the clout to move his bill through the House of Representatives.

“The ACLU is encouraged to see further action in Congress to undo a grave setback to individual liberty and freedom in the Military Commissions Act of 2006,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU’s Legislative Office. “Chairman Skelton deserves praise for spearheading this bipartisan effort. As President Bush’s time in office runs out, the clock for those being held indefinitely at Guantanamo continues to tick. Congress needs to act to restore these fundamental rights for all individuals.”

Two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 185, legislation that also restores habeas rights. With this bipartisan legislation now introduced by the chairman of the House Armed Services, the ACLU is confident that Congress will quickly move forward and pass habeas restoration legislation through both chambers of Congress. The ACLU noted that the newly introduced legislation differs slightly from similar legislation introduced earlier this year, but will work to ensure that the legislation fully restores the rule of law.

“Chairman Skelton today has taken a major step forward in the process to restore our Constitution,” said Christopher Anders, legislative counsel for the ACLU. “Having a bill sponsored by the chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee means that we will soon see this legislation get through Congress and onto the President’s desk. We expect to see a habeas restoration bill go to the President by this fall. The introduction of the Skelton bill in the House, coupled with the recent movement of similar legislation in the Senate can leave all Americans hopeful that our Constitution will soon be restored.”

More than 3,000 concerned citizens will be converging June 26 on Capitol Hill to demand the restoration of habeas corpus and due process, to end torture and restore our fundamental freedoms. To learn more, visit:

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