Sunday, June 10, 2007

A President, or a King?

"There is nothing 'conservative' or 'tough on terrorism' in selectively stripping people of their rights." – New York Times editorial

Dear Friends of the Heart,
Congress gave away one of the oldest Constitutional rights. Tell them to take it back.

Congress made a terrible mistake last October, and allowed president bush to damage one of the oldest founding principles of our democracy. They gave the President the authority to seize people and hold them without ever explaining why – despite the fact that the Constitution itself says he should not have that power.

Now some members of the House have recognized how big a deal this is, and they're trying to set it right. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is beginning a fight to restore the right of habeas corpus, which Congress gave away.

Tell your Representative to Restore our Constitutional rights to habeas corpus.

Maybe it sounds like a legal technicality, but the habeas corpus right is pretty simple, and pretty important. It is "the right of anyone who’s tossed in prison to appear in court and say 'Hey, why am I in prison?'."1

Without that right, people get thrown into places like Guantanamo Bay for years with no evidence other than the say-so of a bounty hunter collecting his $5,000 fee.2 And legal experts say that the law is written so that anyone, U.S. citizen or not, could get that treatment if she acts against the president.3

It's hard to write about even the basic facts here without sounding overly-dramatic, but this is how it is. One of the reasons that we fought the Revolution was so that a king could not imprison people without a court hearing. Taking away that right is not protecting America; it's dismantling it.

Congressman Nadler is trying to add language to an existing bill which would restore habeas corpus. If that fails, he promises to bring it up again, as an amendment. If that fails, there are new bills waiting which would undo the damage of last October's "Military Commissions Act." Send your message now to tell your Representatives to do what it takes to restore this cornerstone of American democracy.

Matt Holland
TrueMajorityACTION Online Director

1 - The death of habeas corpus -
2 - The Shame of Guantanamo – Washington Post Writers Group
3 - Challenging the Military Commissions Act, Jurist, October 04, 2006
For More Information:
Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States:

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Who's Really Locked up in Guantanamo?

Here's the message we'll send to your Representative:
The right of habeas corpus is one of the oldest founding principles of our democracy – the right of someone held by the government to ask why she has been seized. The Military Commissions Act cancelled that right, and I insist that Congress restore it. I urge you to support efforts by Rep. Nadler to add language which does that into the Defense Authorization bill, and also to back bills such as the Habeas Restoration Act.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for TrueMajorityACTION. is a grassroots group of citizens who believe in America's true values of openness, fairness and compassion. We believe participating in an effective government is the best way to be mutually responsible for our community.

No comments: