Congressman Ike Skelton’s House Armed Services Committee has begun discussing whether detainees at Guantanamo prison should have a basic right that is part of the United States constitution. The right of a citizen to challenge arbitraty detention by the government and to obtain judicial review by a neutral party is called the right of habeas corpus. The Busch administration opposes passage of a law that allows those imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay to challenge their imprisonment. A former associate deputy Attorney General says passage of the bill would be an “unprecedented and unwise” judicial review of an executive national security process.

But Congressman Skelton says a nation of constitutional laws must respect them. He says, “Abandoning a principle which has been a cornerstone of Anglo-American jurisprudence for nearly 600 years arms the terrorists with another recruiting weapon and undermines our credibility in the world.”

Skelton strongly objected to passage of the original Militarty Commissions Act. He says it had a lot of problems, none more severe than taking habeas corpus rights aways from detainees.


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