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Feinstein-Lee Amendment Canned – 2013 NDAA Lacks Due Process, Sen. Rand Paul voting NO
by Ali Papademetriou
Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul wrote in a press release Wednesday about his astonishment at how tyrannical his colleagues on the hill really are. On November 29th, the Senate approved an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a 67-29 vote that was introduced by Democratic California Senator, Diane Feinstein and Republican Utah Senator, Mike Lee. The Feinstein-Lee amendment would have allowed United States citizens the right to due process and jury trial; fundamental constitutional rights.
The amendment professed that, “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”
Senator Paul and other liberty minds worked tirelessly to push for the preservation of the citizens’ Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, as their hard work paid off with the Senate. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives isn’t quite as passionate about upholding the Constitution and protecting the people’s freedom. The House rejected the Feinstein-Lee amendment on Tuesday. “The language of the Senate bill was dropped,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin told reporters.
Distraught, Senator Paul explained in his press release, “The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional.”
He went on to note, “I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my Senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act. But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year’s NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity.
Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus – the right to be presented before a judge – is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole.”
Paul concluded by stating, “Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators’ convenience. When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury.”