A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Specter questions constitutionality of habeas restriction in detainee bill

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) [JURIST news archive] told [transcript] CNN's Late Edition program Sunday that he believes the habeas corpus provision of the latest draft [text, PDF] of the military commissions bill [JURIST news archive] based on an agreement [JURIST report] Thursday between Senate and White House negotiators may violate the US Constitution. Section 6 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 deprives the courts of habeas jurisdiction over detained alien enemy combatants, giving judicial recourse only to those actually charged by military commissions. Specter noted that habeas can only be constitutionally withdrawn in the face of rebellion or invasion. Article 1 [text], Section 9 of the US Constitution reads in part, "[t]he privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Specter has scheduled a committee hearing on the issue for Monday. AP has more.

Senator John McCain (R-NV) [JURIST news archive] meanwhile told NBC's Meet the Press program Sunday that other provisions of the revised bill that he helped negotiate with the White House would bar the US from engaging in at least three specific controversial interrogation techniques: extreme sleep deprivation, forced hypothermia and "waterboarding," where the victim experiences the sensation of drowning. The Washington Post has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.