[govinfo] Sign-on opportunity- Need for hearings before marking up any detention/military commissions legislation

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "FEN" <fen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 10:13:17 -0400

ACLU is circulating the attached letter requesting public hearings before the 
Senate votes to revise the Military Commissions Act.  It has a very short 
turn-around time.   
Please let Kelly Goss kgoss@xxxxxxxxxx know if you can sign-on by 11 on Friday. 
 To make it easier to sign on, ACLU is looking only for names of organizations, 
and will not be listing names of any individuals for those organizations.
 
Patrice McDermott 
OpenTheGovernment.org 
 
June 19, 2009
 
The Honorable Carl Levin                                              The 
Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman                                                                        
     Chairman
Senate Committee on Armed Services                       Senate Committee on 
the Judiciary
228 Russell Senate Office Building                            224 Dirksen 
Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510                                               
Washington, D.C.  20510
 
The Honorable Ike Skelton                                          The 
Honorable John Conyers
Chairman                                                                        
     Chairman
House Committee on Armed Services    House Committee on the Judiciary
2120 Rayburn House Office Building        2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515                                               
Washington, D.C.  20515
RE:          Request for Hearings before Voting on Any Legislation to Revise 
the Military Commissions Act or Authorize New Detention Authority or Procedures
Dear Chairmen Levin, Leahy, Skelton, and Conyers:
                The undersigned organizations all strongly believe that the 
United States has all requisite authority under current law to try, resettle, 
or repatriate the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.  At this point, there is no 
need for new legislation for trial or detention authority for any current or 
future detainees.  
                However, we understand that some members of Congress and 
Executive Branch officials are considering possible legislation to revise the 
Military Commissions Act and authorize new detention authority or procedures.  
We strongly urge you to hold hearings on any such legislation before holding 
any markup.  These matters are far too important for legislation to pass out of 
committee without full, public hearings.
Even during the rushed drafting and consideration of the Military Commissions 
Act of 2006, your committees still managed to hold a total of nine hearings 
related to the legislation.  The hearings provided some opportunity for 
committee members, other members of Congress, and the American people to have a 
better understanding of the issues being considered, as well as to discuss 
alternative ways to promote the shared objectives of maintaining national 
security while also upholding American values.
The questions are no less complex three years later.  We are grateful for 
President Barack Obama?s order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility 
by January 2010, and we appreciate the practical, political, and legal 
challenges the Departments of Defense, Justice, and State confront in complying 
with the President?s order.  The already difficult challenges faced by the 
government in closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility should not be made 
harder by a truncated legislative process.  Passing legislation without 
committee consideration in full and public hearings increases the risk that the 
result could be a statute with uncertain, unintended, or counterproductive 
consequences.
                Thank you for your attention to these matters, and we would be 
pleased to meet with you or your staff to discuss our concerns further.
Sincerely,



cc:  All committee members

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