New Legislation Suspends Habeas Corpus for Terror Detainees

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After a White House compromise with Republican Senators McCain, Warner and Graham last week, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act.  With a few exceptions, the final votes in the Senate and Congress went along party lines.  President Bush's signing ceremony for the legislation, which sets the rules for the treatment of terrorist suspects, is expected to be a high-profile political moment. But conservative legal scholars are among those contending that the new law will violate the Constitution and pave the way for a police state. The writ of habeas corpus was designed to prevent kings from letting their enemies die in prison without trial.  Will the new law give the President that kind of power?  Will it allow torture under another name or does it protect traditional safeguards while making Americans safer from a new kind of danger?




Warren Olney