The full House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to hear testimony at 9 a.m. EDT Thursday on “Upholding the Principle of Habeas Corpus for Detainees.” Committee member Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, is preparing to ask pointed questions, her staff says.
Two bills to restore habeas corpus rights to non-citizen enemy combatants are pending: House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., introduced one last month (with Tauscher among the 29 original co-sponsors) and a similar Senate bill was introduced in January by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking member Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
An explanation of habeas corpus and a list of tomorrow’s witnesses, after the jump…
Habeas corpus, for the Latin-challenged, essentially is the right to be brought to the court for a determination of whether one is imprisoned lawfully and whether one should be released. It dates back to the 12th Century, preceding its 1215 codification in the Magna Carta‘s section 39; our Constitution‘s Article I, Section 9, says it “shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.” Yet under last year’s Military Commissions Act of 2006, non-citizens whom the government deems “unlawful enemy combatants” no longer have this right.
Scheduled to testify tomorrow are: