Restore Habeas

(One of the most riveting moments at the Harkin Steak Fry this past weekend was when Sen. Chris Dodd called for the restoration of habeas corpus and Democrats enthusiastically responded. This shouldn't be a partisan issue; it is a fundamental American democratic issues. Sen. Harkin has indicated he will be voting in favor of restoring habeas corpus and Sen. Grassley is a maybe. Call his office now at (202) 224-3744 and use this form to track his answer. - promoted by Chris Woods)

This afternoon Senator Pat Leahy and Senator Chris Dodd introduced the Leahy-Specter-Dodd Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. The amendment will restore habeas corpus and help us regain our moral standing in the world.

Sign up to be a citizen co-sponsor at

Also, follow Senator Dodd's call to action above and call up your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Leahy-Specter-Dodd Amendment.

The fight will be hard and the vote, which will come later this week, is likely to be very close. But upholding the rule of law demands action and that's what Senators Dodd and Leahy are calling for.

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Restoring the Constitution

One of the largest reasons I joined the Dodd campaign and why I think Chris Dodd is the best candidate for the presidency is his leadership on restoring the Constitution and protecting the right of habeas corpus for all Americans. He fundamentally understands that our moral authority is tied into our ability to lead and our security.

Habeas corpus is an unfortunately isn't an issue that's talked about a lot in American politics. It is a right enshrined in the US Constitution to ensure that when the government detains a person, that person must be brought before a court and be tried or released. Habeas corpus is a hallmark of what protects our republic from the creep of tyranny. The right of habeas corpus was gutted by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a law whose bland name belies its pernicious character.  A New York Times editorial in September, 2006 documented the extent of the MCA's reach beyond habeas and into our relationship with the Geneva Convention, how we treat enemy combatants, how our courts weigh secret and coerced evidence, how the MCA limits review by our independent judiciary, and a definition of torture that is so narrow as to exclude rape from being included.

At some point, hopefully quite soon, the Iraq War will be over. Patriotic, courageous leaders will bind up our nation's wounds and we, as a nation, will move on as best we can. Hopefully we will be able to remember the mistakes that surrounded the Bush administration's policies before and during the Iraq War. But we will remain Americans and we will work together to restore our standing in the world.

But habeas corpus and the rights enshrined in our Constitution that depend on it to have meaning are a part of our national DNA. And unless it is restored soon, we risk fundamentally altering who we are as a people and what we stand for in the world.

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