Udall Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Prohibit Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial or Charge
Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, announced that he has joined Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and a bipartisan group of his colleagues in introducing the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, to clarify that American citizens apprehended inside the United States cannot be indefinitely detained by the military.
The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is a response to a controversial provision passed Thursday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could be interpreted to allow American citizens to be detained indefinitely without trial. Udall opposed that provision and fought to remove it from the authorization bill.
The Due Process Guarantee Act amends the Non-Detention Act of 1971 by providing that a congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention – without charge or trial – of U.S. citizens. The bill also codifies a “clear-statement rule” that requires Congress to expressly authorize detention authority over U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The protections are limited to those “apprehended in the United States” and exclude citizens who take up arms against the United States on a foreign battlefield, such as Afghanistan.
“There are American citizens who have collaborated with our enemies and participated in attacks against our soldiers and civilians; those traitors should be dealt with,” Udall said. “But even in our darkest hours, we must ensure that our Constitution prevails. We do ourselves a grave disservice by allowing for any citizen to be locked up indefinitely without trial – no matter how serious the charges against them. Our national security leadership has even said it could make us less safe. Especially given the provisions in the 2012 defense authorization bill, we must clarify that the law unequivocally does not allow the government to detain Americans indefinitely on U.S. soil without trial or charge. And that is the purpose behind this new legislation.”
The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is also co-sponsored by senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
Contact Senator Udall at markudall.senate.gov
Editor: Thank you Senator Udall, but it is amazing that a bill that abrogates the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eights amendments could even have been seriously considered by our congress. Now we need another bill to clarify our civil liberties. This whole charade would be absurd were it not so terribly frightening.