Letters to the Editor

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CONGRESS: Law skirts constitutional right

Letter by Brant R. DeLarme, Bonney Lake on Dec. 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | 77 Comments »
December 9, 2011 12:51 pm

The Senate has passed a law that may deny us our supposedly irrevocable constitutional rights.

The National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that gives the President the power to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial.

Of course, the law only applies to terrorists and those who substantially support them. Then again, as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky points out, “there are laws on the books now that characterize who might be a terrorist… someone who has guns… someone who has more than seven days of food in their house.” Good thing I don’t have seven days of food.

Farewell Sixth Amendment right to “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.”
Now, section 1031 also includes the provision “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens.” But, if that is the case, why write a law that so obviously contradicts the supreme law of the land? Either lawmakers are hoping that section 1031 will give the executive room to wiggle around the constitution in the future, or they are genuinely incompetent.

So how many of our elected representatives tried to preserve our constitutional rights by voting against a bill containing such an affront to liberty? Seven. Three Republicans, three Democrats and an independent were the only senators to vote “nay.”

I thought this was the congress that cared so much they had the constitution read aloud to kick off the term. What is going on?

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