ACLU Encourages Congress to Restore the Constitution at Senate Judiciary Hearing on Habeas

May 22, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON, DC – The ACLU said today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “Restoring Habeas Corpus: Protecting American Values and the Great Writ,” is a big step in the right direction and shows a commitment by Congress to restore Constitutional rights, including habeas rights, during this session.

The committee is expected to hear testimony on the damage to American values caused by stripping habeas corpus protections from individuals held by the US government. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 eliminated the habeas due process protection against unlawful imprisonment, and caused numerous other violations of due process.

“To preserve American values of freedom and fairness, Congress must act now to reverse the damage done by the Military Commissions Act and restore respect for Constitutional rights,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

“The revelation last week that the White House tried to do an end run around a bedridden attorney general to reauthorize an illegal wiretapping program is just the tip of the iceberg,” Fredrickson added. “There has been a full-scale assault on the Constitution and the rule of law. Restoring habeas protections is a good place for Congress to start to repair the damage. We’re now all learning that taking away the rights of a few people makes it easier for the government to take rights away from everyone.”

“Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and the ranking Republican Arlen Specter have made clear that restoring habeas is a top priority of the committee,” said Christopher Anders, Legislative Counsel to the ACLU. “There is now a commitment in both houses of Congress and across party lines to restore habeas this year. The days of trashing the Constitution are over; it’s now time to build back up our constitutional rights.”

The ACLU is leading an effort to organize the Day to Restore Law and Justice on June 26. For more information visit

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