Wednesday, June 18, 2008

John McCain on Barack Obama and Habeas Corpus

Today, in his media availability in Springfield, Missouri, John McCain made the following remarks concerning Barack Obama and his position on giving habeas corpus to captured terrorists:

"On the issue of national security, it is very clear to me that it was a wrong decision of the United States Supreme Court. [Barack Obama] supports that decision to give, I understand Osama Bin Laden if he were captured, habeas corpus rights. So we have a fundamental disagreement about it. And I think Mayor Giuliani, who is very well qualified on this issue having been Mayor of New York City at an incredible time in American history, has put it very well, [Obama] doesn't have an understanding of the nature of the threat. And I will look forward to that debate quite often in the future. And I think that the American people will agree with me that these are enemy combatants, that we passed legislation with an overwhelming majority of the Congress, which he opposed that set up military commissions and commissions that would address and give some rights to the enemy combatants who were being held, but certainly n ot in a radical departure from history and to want to give them the same rights that citizens have in this country."

Barack Obama Opposed The Bipartisan Compromise That Established A Process For Bringing High-Level Detainees To Justice

Barack Obama Voted Against The Bipartisan 2006 Military Commissions Act, Which Allowed The Government To Proceed With The Prosecution Of High-Level Detainees. "The bill would set up rules for the military commissions that will allow the government to proceed with the prosecutions of high-level detainees including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, considered the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." (Kate Zernike, "Senate Approves Broad New Rules To Try Detainees," The New York Times, 9/29/06; S. 3930, CQ Vote #259: Passed 65-34: R 53-1; D 12-32; I 0-1, 9/28/06, Obama Voted Nay, McCain Voted Yea)

· McCain: "Mr. President, almost exactly three months ago, the Supreme Court decided the groundbreaking case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. In that case, a majority of the Court ruled that the military procedures used to try detainees held at Guantanamo Bay fell short of the standards of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. ... Unfortunately, the Hamdan decision left in its wake a void and uncertainty that Congress needed to address -- and address quickly -- in order to continue fighting the war on terrorism. The Military Commissions Act of 2006, I believe, allows us to do that in a way that protects our soldiers and other personnel fighting on the front lines and respects core American principles of justice. I would like to thank Senators Warner and Graham for their unceasing work on this bill. It is certainly one of the most important pieces of legislation that the Senate will consider this year, and it is imperative that Congress pass it as soon as possible." (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, "McCain Urges Final Passage Of The Military Commissions Act Of 2006," Press Release, 9/28/06)

· Barack Obama Opposed The Military Commissions Act Because It Did Not Provide Habeas Corpus Rights For Detainees. Obama: "Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused. And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus -- the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance -- one single chance -- to ask the Government why they are being held and what they are being charged with." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/28/06, p. S10388)

Barack Obama Co-Sponsored "A Bill To Restore Habeas Corpus For Those Detained By The United States." (S. 185, Introduced 1/4/07)

Barack Obama Voted To "Strike Provisions In The [Military Commissions Act Of 2006] That Would Limit The Rights Of Detainees To Challenge Their Detention In U.S. Courts." (S. 3930, CQ Vote #255: Rejected 48-51: R 4-50; D 43-1; I 1-0, 9/28/06, Obama Voted Yea)

Barack Obama Co-Sponsored And Voted For Legislation "That Would Provide That The [Military Commissions Act Of 2006's] Authority For Military Tribunals Expire On Dec. 31, 2011." (S. 3930, CQ Vote #257: Rejected 47-52: R 2-52; D 44-0; I 1-0, 9/28/06, Obama Voted Yea)

· Barack Obama: "I am proud to be sponsoring this amendment with the senior Senator from West Virginia. He is absolutely right that Congress has abrogated its oversight responsibilities, and one way to reverse that troubling trend is to adopt a sunset provision in this bill. We did it in the PATRIOT Act, and that allowed us to make important revisions to the bill that reflected our experience about what worked and what didn't work during the previous 5 years. We should do that again with this important piece of legislation." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/28/06, p. S10388)

Barack Obama Supported Legislation To "Grant Detainees And Enemy Combatants The Right To Petition For Habeas Corpus In The U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals For The District Of Columbia, Provided A Review Tribunal Has Been Conducted." (S. 1042, CQ Vote #324: Rejected 44-54: R 4-50; D 39-4; I 1-0, 11/15/05, Obama Voted Yea)

Barack Obama: "I believe Guantanamo, the decision to detain people without charges, is unjust. And so the danger of using good versus evil in the context of war is it may lead us to be not as critical as we should be about our own actions and that's something that I am very wary about." (Sen. Barack Obama, Pentecost 2007 Forum, Washington, DC, 6/4/07)

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