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ARBITRARY DETENTION AND TORTURE
Congressional Record: September 27, 2006 (House)
MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006
Statement of the Hon. David Wu, (D, OR)
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 1042, I call up the bill (H.R. 6166) to amend title 10, United States Code, to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 1042, the amendment printed in House Report 109-688 is adopted and the bill, as amended, is considered read.
The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Mr. WU. Mr. Speaker, I want to focus like a laser beam on the right of habeas corpus and the untoward effect of this legislation on habeas corpus. This is an ancient doctrine that has been with us since at least the days of Charles I. It has presented difficulties to many American Presidents from Jefferson to Lincoln to Grant to Roosevelt.
We have the power to do much in restricting habeas corpus; but we should do so very, very carefully because it is the protection from tyranny that our forebears sought in the Revolution.
Congress here is entering upon dangerous constitutional shoal waters, and it is, in my belief, unconstitutionally limiting access to habeas corpus. The courts have repeatedly ruled in a restricted fashion whenever Congress or the Presidency has restricted access to habeas corpus and each of us, not just the Supreme Court, but we in the Congress and those in the executive branch, we all take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and this act, by restricting habeas corpus, will not serve America well.
And by so restricting habeas corpus, this bill does not just apply to enemy aliens. It applies to all Americans because, while the provision on page 93 has the word ``alien'' in it, the provision on page 61 does not have the word ``alien'' in it.
Let us say that my wife, who is here in the gallery with us tonight, a sixth generation Oregonian, is walking by the friendly, local military base and is picked up as an unlawful enemy combatant. What is her recourse? She says, I am a U.S. citizen. That is a jurisdictional fact under this statute, and she will not have recourse to the courts? She can take it to Donald Rumsfeld, but she cannot take it across the street to an article 3 court.
This bill applies to every American, regardless of citizenship status.