"Mukasey: ‘I Would Not Advise’ Granting Habeas Rights ‘Beyond Those That Detainees Already Have’"
One year ago today, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 suspended habeas corpus for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo and other offshore prisons. “At the urging of the Bush administration, the Republican-controlled Congress last year voted to sharply limit detainee access to the courts.”
In the confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee Mike Mukasey, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who previously threatened to filibuster the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act — asked Mukasey whether he would restore habeas corpus to “unlawful enemy combatants” held in U.S. detention centers.
Mukasey said he would not support granting habeas corpus rights to detained prisoners at Gitmo:
GRAHAM: Would you advise the President of the United States to allow unlawful enemy combatants to have habeas rights, to grant them habeas corpus rights at Guantanamo Bay?
MUKASEY: I would not advise the President to grant rights beyond those that they already have.
Graham asked if Mukasey “associates” himself with former Attorney General Robert Jackson’s statement that expanding legal rights to detainees would cause a “conflict between judicial and military opinion highly comforting to enemies of the United States.” “Yes I do,” affirmed Mukasey.
Earlier in today’s hearings, Mukasey refused to say whether he would recommend to Bush that Guantanamo be shut down. Unfortunately, it appears that many of Alberto Gonzales’ punitive detainee policies will continue under Mukasey’s Justice Department.
UPDATE: Today, Amnesty International took out a full-page ad in USA Today commemorating the Military Commissions Act’s one-year anniversary. View the ad HERE.