Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Civil Liberties: S. 1867 will take away Due Process - a fundamental aspect of American Democracy

Some of you may remember studying the Magna Carta while in high school.  I am not sure it is such an important document these days.  Apparently many members of Congress don't seem to know about one of its most important concepts - the Right of Due Process.

The concern about S. 1987 the 2011 Defense Authorization Act is that Due Process for U.S. citizens will be lost.  See the definition below of Due Process.

Click HERE for the complete text of S. 1867 as passed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 2, 2011.



Due process is a legal concept referring to the guarantee that a government will follow fair procedures when depriving a person of life, liberty, or property. A key element of the rule of law is the idea that government must follow written guidelines that restrict the actions it can take against individuals. Due process suggests that an established set of uniform legal procedures will be used to ensure a just outcome, as opposed to arbitrary or individualized judgment. The most basic level of due process includes individuals' rights to be notified of charges against them, to speak in their own defense, and to be judged by a jury of their peers. It also includes the right to just compensation for the seizure of property and public disclosure of relevant laws.

Due process is a long-standing concept in the Anglo-American legal tradition, originating from the British Magna Carta of 1215. Today, many nations have some form of due process protected by their constitutions. In the United States, due process is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, which refers to the federal government, and Fourteenth Amendment, which applies to the states and was passed after the Civil War.

Op-Ed Contributors

New York Times - Guantánamo Forever?

IN his inaugural address, President Obama called on us to “reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” We agree. Now, to protect both, he must veto the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress is expected to pass this week....

...One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past...

...a second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities it hasn’t sought. This would violate not only the spirit of the post-Reconstruction act limiting the use of the armed forces for domestic law enforcement but also our trust with service members...

...A third provision would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantánamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future...link to complete article

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