Amendment Introduced to Ban Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) today introduced an Amendment to the NDAA that would ban indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

The language of the amendment assures that no authorization to use military force, war declaration or any similar authority would allow an American apprehended in the United States to be held without charge or trial.

Co-sponsors include Senators Paul (R-Ky.), Coons (D-Del.), Collins (R-Maine), Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kirk (D-Ill.), Tester (D-Mont.), Johnson (D-S.D.), Sanders (I-Vt.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Baucus (D-Mont.) and Heller (R-Nev.)

The 668 page NDAA bill for 2013 is S. 3254, available here.

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    Hope it passes (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by athyrio on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:56:33 PM EST
    we need to stop this indefinite stuff, which is  left over from actions from the Bush administration IMO...

    Seems like such a no-brainer (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 12:12:10 AM EST
    So of course it will be highly controversial.

    We need an amendment for this? (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 12:53:49 AM EST
    Of course I agree but a) come on this will never pass and b) we can't obtain judicial consensus under current law?  Wouldn't that be better/easier to obtain?

    An "I read the news today, oh boy..." moment.


    Should pass if Feinstein and (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:17:35 AM EST
    Tester are out front.

    Would (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by lentinel on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 02:33:21 AM EST
    this amendment help the unjustly incarcerated Bradley Manning?
    His detention is another stain on our country.

    I would of course hope that this passes - preferably with the support of the white house. But that would take some courage on Obama's part - something I have not seen as yet.

    I also wonder why it should continue be OK to incarcerate foreign nationals indefinitely without charge or trial.

    But if we start with the abandonment of this un-American practice with respect to US citizens, perhaps the humanity involved will spill over.

    I agree as to not distinguishing (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:19:29 AM EST
    between us and them.  

    The language is interesting... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:34:03 AM EST
    specifically, that it bans the indefinite detention of an American apprehended in the United States, so should we take that to mean that if you're an American on foreign soil, the US government can apprehend and hold you indefinitely?

    Sure sounds like it to me.

    I'm no constitutional scholar, by anyone's definition, but I always thought that the protections afforded us under the US Constitution did not end at the country's borders, so this amendment's specific reference to banning the use of indefinite detention of US citizens "in the United States" would seem to undercut those protections.

    I think the lesson here is to take nothing at face value, because when it comes to what our esteemed members of Congress are doing, nothing is ever really what it seems - and usually is worse than we first thought.

    That's (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by lentinel on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:05:45 AM EST
    very interesting loophole that you noticed: Apprehending American citizens on foreign soil and consigning them to indefinite detention without charge or trial could still be permitted.

    Of course, Obama would presumably still has his beloved kill list.
    So, even if he were prevented from apprehending an American citizen suspect on foreign soil, he could always just drone the poor devil.

    I too thought that the Constitutional protections afforded American citizens did not end at the border, but those protections have become so weakened under the last two administrations I'm not even sure what they are anymore.


    Interesting how our jurisdiction is global... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by unitron on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:35:38 AM EST
    ...over our own citizens and others alike, but our rights stop at the water's edge, if they even make it that far.

    Wish I could (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by sj on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:53:55 PM EST
    give this a 10.