Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Blog

Last year, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which potentially allowed for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial. Last night, the indefinite detention provision was ruled unconstitutional by a New York court. As the NDAA for 2013 makes its way through the halls of Congress, it has reignited a debate on the merits – and constitutionality – of these provisions.

A number of newly-introduced bills and amendments aim to strip the indefinite detention provisions out of the NDAA, including the Smith-Amash amendment lauded by the ACLU, and the No Detention Without Charge Act of 2012, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Though the Smith-Amash amendment narrowly failed in the House, Nadler’s bill (H.R. 5751) still has a shot.  It would “prohibit the detention of any person by the United States except to the extent that the Constitution and the law of war permit…prohibit the detention without charge of any person arrested or detained within the United States” and repeal the section of the 2012 NDAA that codified the detention process.

It’s a great bill and a huge victory for civil liberties, cleanly rolling back the dangerous excesses of last year’s bill.

“The notion that the United States ought to conduct itself according to the Constitution and the law of war should not be controversial,” said Nadler. “This legislation takes a small step—but an important step—in affirming our values as we work to secure the nation from those who would do us harm.”

Please urge your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 5751 – The No Detention Without Charge Act of 2012

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