ACLU Stays Focused on Winning Fight to Restore Habeas

May 10, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – Despite a decision late Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee to pass the Defense Department authorization bill without including a provision to restore habeas corpus, the ACLU remains confident Congress will heed the public’s demand for the restoration of one of the core protections in the Constitution and American law.

“We have always been proud that America stands for the values of due process and fairness, but those values were severely damaged when President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act that stripped habeas due process rights,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Habeas must be restored and the ACLU will keep the pressure on Congress to remedy this injustice. Our nation’s reputation and principles are on the line.”

“We’re disappointed that the effort to restore habeas wasn’t launched in the House Armed Services Committee last night, but we’re not giving up the fight,” said ACLU Washington Legislative Office Director Caroline Fredrickson. “America demanded last fall that Congress take action to stop abuse of power and restore the rule of law. Now Congress needs to act on that demand.”

The ACLU remains undeterred in its perseverance to persuade the 110th Congress to restore habeas. Over the next couple of months, there will be more opportunities to restore habeas corpus and the ACLU is fully committed to that goal. The majority of Americans join us in support of this issue.

The ACLU will take this fight straight to Capitol Hill on June 26 and is urging thousands of activists from all over the United States to descend upon Washington, D.C. for a Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice. Joined by Amnesty International, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, they will deliver a message directly to Congress to demand that they restore habeas corpus, end torture and ensure fundamental liberties. The Day of Action highlights the loss of fundamental rights and freedoms over the last six years, particularly the constitutionally protected due process rights stripped by the Military Commissions Act.

“While we would have liked the Armed Services Committee to have given habeas restoration a quick and early push, Chairman Skelton and the House leadership are clear that they will get it done, The Bush administration has trampled the Constitution and abandoned American values and the rule of law – and so far Congress has failed to act,” said Chris Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “But all Americans are going to have to join in this effort to restore the Constitution and the American values that were abandoned last fall when the Military Commissions Act was passed. The June 26 day of action will be a great opportunity to show the breadth of support for habeas and the Constitution.”

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