Senate votes to allow indefinite detention of Americans - Josh Gerstein: Senate votes to allow indefinite detention of Americansblog comments
December 01, 2011
The Senate on Thursday evening essentially blessed the indefinite detention of American citizens who join up with Al Qaeda.
By a 45-55 vote, senators rejected an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have excluded U.S. citizens from the detention authority created by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Feinstein's amendment would have inserted language excluding Americans into the detainee provisions of the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
During floor debate on Feinstein's proposal, some senators argued that Supreme Court decisions make clear that American citizens can be detained under the law of war. They point to a 1942 decision upholding the trial of an American-born saboteur before a military commission and a 2004 decision in which four justices endorsed an opinion that found the government has the right to detain a U.S. citizen who joins with enemy forces. However, other senators said the facts of those cases don't squarely endorse the open-ended detention of a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil.
The Senate later adopted, by a 99-1 vote, a compromise amendment clarifying that nothing in the NDAA is intended to alter the government current legal authority to detain prisoners captured in the war on terror.
An earlier Feinstein amendment seeking to limit new detention-related rules to prisoners captured outside the U.S. also failed, on a 45-55 vote.Posted by Josh Gerstein 06:55 PMpost a comment Back to top
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Thursday, December 1, 2011
Senate votes to allow indefinite detention of Americans - Josh Gerstein