here is senator patrick
leahy's statement on the republican-
led torpedoing of the majority-supported
restoration of habeas corpus measure in
the united states senate:
Comments Of Sen. Patrick Leahy
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On Republican Filibuster Of Amendment
To Restore Habeas Protections
September 19, 2007
The vote today showed that a majority of the Senate supports our efforts to correct the historic mistake made in last year’s Military Commissions Act, but there is still more work to be done to overcome the Republican filibuster. Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the elimination of habeas rights was an action driven by fear, and it was a stain on America’s reputation in the world.
This bipartisan initiative has brought together Americans who call themselves conservatives, Americans who call themselves liberals, or libertarians, or evangelicals, or independents, and I am proud to be associated with them in this effort. We will continue to work for what is right and what is just.
Senator Specter and I came to this Floor to offer this amendment back on July 10, when this bill was initially being considered, and thereafter. I thank him for his work in this effort. I also want to express my appreciation to Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Carl Levin, Senator Dodd, Senator Menendez, Senator Bingaman, and others who have participated in or facilitated this debate.
We have brought this to the Senate Floor not because it is politically easy or popular, but because it is the right thing to do. This has been a debate that has invoked constitutional principles, legal precepts, Latin phrases, and historical precedents. This is an issue that lends itself to politically provocative distortions. Constitutional principles need our defense not so much when it is popular to do so, as when it may not be popular or easy to do.
It is difficult to defend the higher ground by taking the lower road. The world knows what our enemies stand for. The world also knows what this country has tried to stand for and live up to -– in the best of times, and the worst of times.
It is from strength that America should defend our values and our way of life. It is from the strength of our freedoms, our Constitution, and the rule of law that we shall prevail. I thank and commend Senators who joined with us to stand up for a stronger America, for the America we believe in, by voting to invoke cloture on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007. We will not give up on this important effort.