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Leahy reacts to Guantanamo dismissals.

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"Leahy reacts to Guantanamo dismissals."

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“Every time this Administration has been called upon to create a workable and fair system, it responded by seeking to remove judicial review and discretion and narrow the procedures even further. I hope this time the Administration will work with us to create a better system. The place to start is by restoring the hallmark of justice known as the Great Writ of habeas corpus so that there will be a check by an independent court to guarantee that basic safeguards and the rule of law are followed. That will also begin the process of restoring America’s reputation for justice around the world.”

Read his full statement:

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The Dismissal Of Charges Against Guantanamo Detainees And The Need For Restoration Of Habeas Corpus Protections

June 5, 2007

“Time and again, the Bush Administration and the former Republican Congress set up legally suspect systems for addressing detainees, and time and again, these cramped systems have been found to be flawed. These court rulings are only the latest rebukes to these counterproductive, unilateral actions.

“Every time this Administration has been called upon to create a workable and fair system, it responded by seeking to remove judicial review and discretion and narrow the procedures even further. I hope this time the Administration will work with us to create a better system. The place to start is by restoring the hallmark of justice known as the Great Writ of habeas corpus so that there will be a check by an independent court to guarantee that basic safeguards and the rule of law are followed. That will also begin the process of restoring America’s reputation for justice around the world.

“Senator Specter and I have introduced the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 to preserve the legal process that guarantees people an opportunity to go to court and challenge the basis for their detention and any abuse of power by the Government. The Military Commissions Act currently allows the government to hold not just the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, but any non-citizen, including the nation’s 12 million lawful permanent residents, picked up even on the unproved suspicion of being an enemy combatant — without that person having the ability to go to court to challenge his or her detention.

“It is important to our national security that we have a credible system for detaining people who actually present a threat to the United States. These court decisions underscore that, far from being beyond reproach, the system set up by this Administration in the weeks before the last election is not adequate and cannot be trusted with the liberties of millions of people. The Judiciary Committee is expected to consider our bill later this week, and I look forward to senators supporting this legislation so we can begin the process of restoring these fundamental safeguards.”

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