Human Rights First Opposes Senator Graham’s Rushed Plan to Obstruct the Courts in Reviewing Guantanamo Habeas Petitions

WASHINGTON—With only a few weeks of the congressional session left before the November elections, Senator Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) yesterday introduced a bill (S. 3401) to implement Attorney General Mukasey’s recently-announced proposal for unnecessary legislation that would perpetuate – and even aggravate – the mistakes that have resulted in the prolonged and unchecked detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights First said today.

“Senator Graham’s bill would lead Congress down a familiar path: the Supreme Court rules against the Bush Administration’s anti-rule of law agenda, and the Administration presents this as a crisis that Congress must avert – by enacting legislation that only compounds the problems. Congress shouldn’t fall for it this time. Mr. Mukasey asserted last week that the Court left too many questions unanswered, when his real complaint is that the Administration doesn’t like the answers the Court gave: that no one is outside the protection our laws provide against runaway Executive power,” said Elisa Massimino, Washington Director, Human Rights First.

Last week Attorney General Mukasey claimed that Congress must urgently act – with only weeks left in this year’s legislative calendar – to subvert a recent Supreme Court ruling by creating new rules to constrict the ability of Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detention in civilian courts. “Senator Graham’s bill would have Congress bow to the Attorney General’s demand that Congress constrict the courts’ habeas authority to order the release of detainees they determine the government has no lawful authority to imprison. It would eviscerate the recent Boumediene decision, prolong injustice and ultimately invite decisive rejection by the courts,” said Devon Chaffee, Advocacy Counsel for Human Rights First.


Published on October 1, 2008


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