SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 5, 2011

Kerry, Brown split on payroll tax cut: Roll Call for week of Nov. 28, 2011

(Continued)

WASHINGTON — Voting yes: Brown, Kerry  

Voting no: None

Not voting: None

MILITARY CUSTODY, CIVIL LIBERTIES: Voting 38 for and 60 against, the Senate on Nov. 29 refused to strip the 2012 defense budget (S 1867, above) of a requirement that captured members of organizations such as al-Qaeda be held indefinitely in U.S. military custody rather than assigned to the America’s civilian criminal-justice system. Under this major shift in detention policy, even American terrorist suspects arrested in the U.S. could be denied access to U.S. civilian courts and rights of due process. However, presidents could waive the presumption of military custody under certain circumstances. Defenders said the language codifies but does not change existing U.S. policy.

Mark Udall, D-Colo., called it “an unprecedented threat to our constitutional liberties” to authorize “the indefinite military detention of American citizens who are suspected of involvement in terrorism -- even those captured ... in the United States....”

Carl Levin, D-Mich., said: “If it is determined that even an American citizen is a member of al-Qaeda, then you can apply the law of war, according to the Supreme Court. ...Yes, we are at war, and, yes, we should codify how we handle detention, and this is an effort to do that.”

A yes vote was to strip the bill of its military-custody presumption.

Voting yes: Kerry  

Voting no: Brown  

Not voting: None

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