Legislation allowing for the permanent detainment of citizens without trial by jury has passed on the same day as the Bill of Rights only 220 years later. –December 15, 1791–


The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the current defense authorization bill, which includes a provision that would codify a system of military prisons to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without charge or trial, including American citizens caught on U.S. soil.

The bill passed 283-136 in the House and a committee version of the bill passed in the Senate 93-7 last week. The Senate is expected to make a final vote on Thursday and send it to the White House to sign into law by the end of the week.

As revealed in the Senate deliberations last week, the Obama administration itself requested the principal authors of the provision – John McCain and Carl Levin – to include language authorizing due-process-free military custody for American citizens. The initial threat of veto was apparently nothing more than political theater on the part of the White House.

“If President Obama signs this bill,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, ”it will damage both his legacy and America’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”

The entire ordeal is not getting much media attention.  We should all be gravely concerned if not outright enraged that our freedoms are being sacrificed so haphazardly.

If you have no freedoms, what defense do you really have?


**5th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.