Habeas Corpus Bill Withers in Senate

Combatants' rights measure lacks enough support to force a vote
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 3:59 PM CDT
Habeas Corpus Bill Withers in Senate
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. speaks at a news conference in Montpelier, Vt., in this Nov. 9, 2006 file photo. "The truth is that casting aside the time-honored protection of habeas corpus makes us more vulnerable as a nation because it leads us away from our core American values," said Leahy, a co-sponsor...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – A bill to allow terrorism suspects to challenge indefinite detention faltered in Washington today as only 56 Senate votes could be mustered to cut off debate on the habeas corpus measure. Sixty are needed for bills to move forward for a vote in the upper chamber; supporters said they might still renew the legislation, the New York Times reports.

Last year, Congress passed an act abolishing habeas corpus—"You have the body" in Latin—for “enemy combatants." Today’s measure sought to reverse that act. Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy said banning the judicial protection “makes us more vulnerable as a nation.” The Supreme Court will soon hear a case that challenges the law’s constitutionality. (Read more Congress stories.)

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