Menendez Co-Sponsors Bill Correcting Flawed Military Commissions Act

Menendez Co-Sponsors Bill Correcting Flawed Military Commissions Act

Restoring Constitution Act bans torture, restores habeas corpus rights, and upholds the Geneva Conventions

Washington - U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) today introduced legislation co-sponsored by Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) which makes important changes to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Restoring Constitution Act of 2007 bars evidence gained through torture or coercion, restores Habeas Corpus rights and reinstates U.S. adherence to the Geneva Conventions in order to protect the nation's military personnel abroad.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently sent an email to their 40,000 person email list voicing support for the bill and asking their supporters to do the same. The bill is also supported by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, the Center for Victims of Torture, Open Society Institute, and Torture Abolition, Survivors Support Coalition International and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

"I take a backseat to no one when it comes to protecting this country from terrorists," said Sen. Dodd, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee and an outspoken opponent of the MCA. "But there is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this. It's clear the people who perpetrated these horrendous crimes against our country and our people have no moral compass and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But in taking away their legal rights, the rights first codified in our country's Constitution, we're taking away our own moral compass, as well."

"Protecting the American people is our most sacred responsibility, therefore we must do all we can to destroy those who would try to destroy our way of life," Sen. Menendez, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said. "In doing so, however, we must not compromise the values and virtues of our nation and Constitution. This act will give us the tools to defend America from her enemies, while never ceding our standing as a nation of freedom and justice."

"The Military Commissions Act is a dangerous and misguided law that undercuts our freedoms and assaults our Constitution by removing vital checks and balances designed to prevent government overreaching and lawlessness," Sen. Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said. "This bill and legislation I have introduced with Senator Arlen Specter to restore the habeas corpus protections to millions of legal residents are crucial to righting the wrong done by the Military Commissions Act. In standing up for American values and security, we can restore the checks and balances that are fundamental to preserving the liberties that define us as a nation."

"The Military Commissions Act enacted last year was a stain on our nation's history," Sen. Feingold said. "I agree with the President that we should bring terrorists to justice but we should do it in a way consistent with the basic values and principles of our constitutional system of government."

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