As tempting as it was after the Iraq Supplemental Bill to lump Democrats and Republicans together, let's give credit where credit is due. The Democratic majority is the only reason we have to be hopeful of restoring this basic right taken away from us by the Bush Administration and their enabling Republican majority. Potentially, the entire Military Commissions Act could be dismantled. Ari Melber at The Nation has more:
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an important bill to restore habeas corpus, the sacrosanct Constitutional right to challenge government detention in court, by a vote of eleven to eight.
Habeas corpus was revoked by last year's Military Commissions Act, which has been assailed as unconstitutional and un-American by leaders across the political spectrum. Today's habeas bill was backed by the Judiciary Committee's Democratic Chairman, Patrick Leahy, and its Republican Ranking Member, Arlen Specter. "The drive to restore this fundamental right has come from both sides of the aisle," said Sharon Bradford, an attorney at the bipartisan Constitution Project, in response to today's vote. "Restoring America's commitment to the rule of law is not a partisan cause; it is a patriotic one," she added.
Today's vote means the habeas bill can now be brought to the Senate floor at any time. One source with knowledge of the legislative plan said Majority Leader Harry Reid has committed to bringing the bill to a vote within the month.
Some Democrats are pushing Reid to go further, advocating more comprehensive human rights protections and a repeal of the entire Military Commissions Act.