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Some Democratic Senators Still Not Cosponsoring Habeas Corpus Restoration

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Bob Geiger Donating Member (505 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 08:43 AM
Original message
Some Democratic Senators Still Not Cosponsoring Habeas Corpus Restoration


It's been almost three weeks since I last wrote about the status of cosponsorship on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, a bill by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that would "restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States." At that point, the legislation had 23 cosponsors -- 22 Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- and I thought I would check back in today and see who has stepped up to show leadership on this issue since then.

With the addition over the last couple of weeks of Senators Byrd, Carper, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Menendez and Nelson (Bill), there are 28 Democratic Senators, along with Sanders, cosponsoring Specter's S. 185, which could very well come up for a vote next week as an amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill.

Here's the cosponsor list:
  • Joe Biden (D-DE)
  • Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Chris Dodd (D-CT)
  • Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Russ Feingold (D-WI)
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • John Kerry (D-MA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Carl Levin (D-MI)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Barack Obama (D-IL)
  • Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
  • Ken Salazar (D-CO)
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
So I again raise the question: Where are the other Democrats?

We expect almost none of Specter's Republican colleagues to support his leadership on something so basic to our country's creed. The GOP long ago divorced itself of any commitment to our Constitution, so our standards for them have been lowered accordingly. But we expect more of Democrats and should ask why the others are not stepping up and cosponsoring this legislation along with 29 of their colleagues (including Sanders) in the Democratic caucus.

Can they support it when the roll call vote comes, but just not go all the way and sign their names as cosponsoring the bill? Yes. But that's not showing true leadership and, when it comes to one of the most basic American rights trashed by Team Bush, you've got to stand and be counted -- in other words, it's not enough to just show up for the vote.

The following Democratic Senators have still not signed up to cosponsor the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007:
  • Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Evan Bayh (D-IN)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
  • Tim Johnson (D-SD)
  • Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Mark Pryor (D-AR)
  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Charles Schumer (D-NY)
  • Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • James Webb (D-VA)
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)
In fairness, Senators Mikulski and Wyden have both signed on as cosponsors to Senator Chris Dodd's Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007, which restores habeas corpus and takes it a step further by essentially gutting the entire Military Commissions Act. While their hearts are obviously in the right place, there's no reason they can't cosponsor both bills and, to the best of my knowledge, Dodd's bill will not be coming to a vote before the August Senate recess.

In addition, Tim Johnson is still recovering from a brain hemorrhage and I'm unclear as to whether he can cosponsor legislation from afar.

"Habeas corpus was recklessly undermined in last years legislation. I hope that the new Senate will reconsider this historic error in judgment and set the matter right," said Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the June 7 Judiciary Committee hearings that forwarded S. 185 to the full Senate. "Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the elimination of habeas rights was an action driven by fear and another stain on Americas reputation in the world."

So get on the phone Monday and call the Senators still not committed to cosponsoring this vital legislation as they may still need a nudge to sign on that dotted line.

Here's the toll-free number to dial at the U.S. Capitol: 800-862-5530. Just call and ask to be connected to your Senator's office. If you get a chronic busy signal you can see a directory of direct lines to Senate offices here (PDF).

You'll feel good for having done it.

You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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NoFederales Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. I am greatly releived that McCaskill of MIssouri finally signed on.
I was more than worried that she had succombed to the Washington Elitism that eats so many newcomers.

I don't understand how something so fundamentally important as habeas corpus can escape the notice of thinking persons when it is pointed out to them that this has been excised from our constitutional privileges. The massively corrupt * admn has enough inertia to wear down anyone, but you cannot leave the store unminded.

NoFederales
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. Wrote her about this and knew she would do the right thing.
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NoFederales Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. An Unrelated Question For You:
Are you doing the "Enough" thing anywhere on Sundays? I'd like to, but company/strength in #'s is helpful.

NoFederales
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
2. Don't anybody hold their breath over Nelson of Nebraska. He's like the
rest of the republicans (he truly is one you know). He likes it that only the wealthy and people like him, bigshots in government with a personal fortune to prop his worthless ass up, are the only ones with rights and protections. The rest of us can go f**k off.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Recommending because that is unbelievable. Makes me furious.
There is a class of Democrats who are going to make us lose in 08 because they are fraidy cats about confrontation. This is just ridiculous.
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zehnkatzen Donating Member (769 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
4. Unhappy about Wyden
As a fan of Ron Wyden, I'm embarrassed that he wasn't one of the first on board this one.

I actually went out of my way to write him a letter about this.

Still hasn't done it.

Sad am I.

As a Wyden constituent, I apologize. I thought we raised him better than that. Normally he's really very concerned about civil liberties; maybe he's been distracted.

We'll have a talk with him, promise.
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PBS Poll-435 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Trust Me.
Ron Wyden is going to vote to restore these very basic rights.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. In fact, he is cosponsor of the other Habeas Corpus amendment (Dodd's) which, according to Bob
Edited on Sun Jul-15-07 06:20 PM by Mass
Geiger, goes further than Specter's.
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zehnkatzen Donating Member (769 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. you folks gotta point there...
Yes, that's true, he is sponsoring that other bill...and we know we can depend on him to vote the ethical way on it.

I just want my Senator to be perfect...is that so wrong?? :silly:
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
5. C'mon, recommend this so we can get it on the homepage, please!
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
6. What possible reason could they have for not signing up to this? nt
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rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Maybe that is the question we need to ask when we
call these senators next week. If you haven't signed on, what reasoning is holding you back from taking that step? What about this bill is not to your liking and have you communicated that to your fellow dem senators and your constituents?

I would really like to say - what the hell is wrong with you? but I don't think that would get me an extended conversation with their staff. :)
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MLFerrell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
7. Paging Holy Joe...
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uberllama42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
9. I wrote Senator Casey a letter asking him to support the bill
which I will mail tomorrow. I might call his office in Washington and try to find out why he hasn't cosponsored Spector's bill. He talks to Specter almost every single day. There is really no excuse for him not to be on board with this.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
10. The quote "restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States"
scared me. It'd swamp the court system if it did that.

So it's good that the law doesn't actually do that. It covers a few hundred people, not millions. Whew.

People detained on immigration and visa violations wouldn't be covered. Good.
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Yukari Yakumo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
13. This is significant... how?
?
:crazy:

I rather see the Roll Call before condemning anyone. Why is important that every Dem sponsors this?
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. For the sake of not inciting
the careless reader to kneejerk outrage I think more has to be done to define exactly who the senators are who want to AVOID habeas Corpus restoration- and why. That obviously is a much smaller number. This has partly to do with HOW, multiple strategies and fronts. I can only guess at some of the mechanics and political strategizing, although it is important that unity and force by brought to bear by all genuine dem senators at the crunch point.

It is is wise to question one's senator, making the citizen's will known. It is important to go after the
whys and the refusals.

So this is just a beginning and should not necessarily mean automatic branding and anger against Senators who ARE on this issue but in ways that do not help the public feel confidence in their will or future success. If this provides cover to a few senators who for what must be the wrong reasons(re-election concerns included) then the process is flawed. Trying to maneuver the recalcitrant calcified GOP into good old boy bi-partisanship cannot put off the need for any Senator, by obligation and necessity, to join a united front on a black and white issue ruined by the Gray Eminence Cheney and the mud drenched GOP.
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 09:08 PM
Response to Original message
17. Please call your Congress critters and get them to restore habeus corpus!
:kick:
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
19. Johnson can cosponsor legislation even if he is absent
He just introduced two amendments to a bill last week.
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LordJFT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
20. I will write or call Schumer about this
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sampsonblk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
21. Done-nt
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