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House Judiciary Committee approves military commissions bill after killing it

[JURIST] The US House Judiciary Committee [official website] approved the Military Commissions Act [HR 6054 summary] Wednesday 20-19, but only after its Republican leadership harnessed enough votes to overcome an initial 20-17 vote that would have killed the legislation. Key Republican members were missing when the first vote was taken. The House bill closely follows the controversial draft legislation [PDF text; White House fact sheet] President Bush presented [JURIST report] to Congress last week.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) [official website] said [press release] afterwards:

The terrorist tribunals legislation provides congressional authorization to establish a fair and effective procedure to prosecute dangerous terrorists. In taking this action we provide terrorists - such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks - the fairness and legal protections that none of their innocent victims ever enjoyed.
In the Senate, leading Republicans are still pressing the White House for changes to the text that would give detainees more protection both at trial and in interrogations prior to any proceeding. The Washington Times has more.

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